Concentration Meditation: Find the Object, Be With the Object

After the last post many questions arose in the comments section. I gave a customized answer to each individual, attempting to meet them where they were at in their experience to lead them forward. This can be very confusing for the general reader however as I might appear to be giving different advice each time. Even the individual to whom the advice is targeted might struggle to make an actual plan from it, because I describe so much that is going on.

There are however common themes in each reply I gave, and in this post I am going to spell them out in the most simple way possible. Furthermore, to actually put this advice into practice your mind requires one or two very simple commands – the things you ask it to do during the meditation in order to get the results I’m describing. I am about to give you those commands in the clearest and most unambiguous way, therefore eliminating any question of, “So, what am I actually doing?” during your session.

The mind is extremely programmable. It can do just about anything you ask it to do. These commands are called “intentions”. To program the mind, you set an intention by saying it out loud in your mind. Then you wait, breathe, and let it happen. During the “letting it happen” phase the mind will begin its own processes toward manifesting your intention. You have to trust that it knows what it’s doing. This is called letting go.

You have to know which commands to send to your mind to get the outcome you desire. These have to be very simple commands, especially for a beginner.

The two simplest commands for attaining access concentration (which leads inevitably to jhana the longer you remain in it) are:

  1. Find the object.
  2. Be with the object.

Finding the Object

Flow

The single thing that most distinctively separates a concentration state from your regular waking state is flow.

Flow is a state of perception in which something appears to move continuously. However, the movement is also regular and predictable (meaning it doesn’t dart around too much) and the result is that the object appears stable despite inherently being in motion. A river is a good example. It is always moving, and it is always different water you are seeing move by. However, because the water flows in the same shape channel (over the riverbed between the banks), your mind identifies the object as “a river”. It becomes stable and continuous. It flows.

Concentration meditation is the act of finding flow within the object of meditation and continuously noticing that flow. The mind is extremely susceptible to absorbing into flow because it always feels good to do so. When things flow, they feel blissful. The mind very much wants to enter flow states and it feels at home within them. You have already experienced this while playing video games or even just “getting into” some work. Even if you don’t much like your job, if you have a lot on and really get into the task at hand then it starts to feel good because you enter a state of flow within that task. An inertia is built within these activities whereby once you are in flow with them, you don’t want to stop.

To have the mind enter flow you just need to point it towards something that is already flowing and it will absorb into that existing flow and become one with it. This is why flowing objects such as rivers and flames have always been used as meditation objects since the dawn of time. Even without meditation training, if you gaze at a campfire for long enough you will fall into a trance (which is just another word for “flow state”).

The only difference between these everyday flow states you are already familiar with (video games, sex, work, gazing at campfires, watching clouds go by etc.) and jhana is that in jhana the mind is more profoundly absorbed in the flow of the object to the exclusion of other things. This is made possible through the training of concentration meditation. Concentration meditation involves simply noticing the flow that is already present in the object (e.g. in the breath) and allowing your mind to absorb into that flow at higher and higher levels. It is simply the time you spend in the quiet surroundings of your practice that allows the mind to feel safe enough to let itself go more and more into the flow of the object, crossing new boundaries each time, into ever more profound states of absorption.

Flow is present in the breath – you just have to find it. The mind is so highly programmable that you can simply ask it, “Find flow within the breath!” and wait a few seconds, and it will find it. It might find a spot in the visual field where the breath appears to be moving as waves of visible energy. Or you might instead find a sense of flow in the sound of the breath. Or you might find a flowing physical sensation in the breath, somewhere in the body, or somewhere on your nose, that seems to move smoothly and predictably.

Wherever you find flow in the breath, in whichever sensory system, that is now your object. Your object becomes the area of flow that you found in the breath.

Your first task is therefore clear: You must find an area of flow within your meditation object, then stay with that flow.

“Find the object; be with the object.”

Finding Your Preferred Sensory System

In meditation we consider you as having six senses:

  • Sight / visual / images
  • Hearing / auditory / sounds
  • Taste
  • Smell
  • The feeling body (which includes touch, pain, movement, and emotions)
  • The thinking mind

You will inherently favour one system over the others in certain tasks, and this is especially true in meditation.

Your second task is therefore to find your strongest sensory system and to then work exclusively with that system going forward in your concentration practice. You do this by noticing which sensory system the object appears in most clearly. Specifically, you are looking for which system contains an area of flow within the object.

So, we already have three jhana meditators we can look at, each using three different sensory systems to perceive the breath:

  • LuminousBliss meditates exclusively on the sensations of the breath at the columella (the fleshy bit between the nostrils). (Feeling body)
  • Absolutus meditates exclusively on the sound of the breath. (Auditory system)
  • Illuminatus meditates exclusively on the flow of the breath at a point determined visually. (Visual system)

Each of these techniques will perceive flow in the breath within the preferred sensory system. So, LuminousBliss will begin to experience the breath as continuous flowing sensations at the columella. Absolutus will begin to hear the sound of the breath flowing continuously. I literally begin to see the breath as flowing energy.

To find your preferred sensory system you should first just have a think about it – you will often instinctively know which one you tend to favour. Then you can try to meditate while perceiving the object only in that sensory system, to test whether you get a clearer signal on it. Alternatively, you can do a test run of five minutes spent in each system (seeing / hearing / feeling) then decide roughly which system produced the clearest perception of the breath.

Seeing, hearing, and feeling are likely the most common sensory systems used for breath meditation. Something can also be done with smell – for example, I have a post called Jhana: Smell the Air. Alternate nostril breathing pranayama can be used to sensitize the smelling system, too. I also occasionally use an auto-suggestion that I am smelling freshly cut grass to introduce some pleasure to the breath. However, these methods require adding an additional mind-made property to the breath (sweetness), so it is complicating the method. I therefore do not recommend this for beginners, but have included it for completeness. Something can be done with taste in a similar fashion.

So, the only sensory system we have not yet mentioned is the thinking mind. The breath can be perceived as an object using the thinking mind in a number of ways, and the method usually involves turning the breath into a concept such as a sine wave (as discussed here: Jhana: Waves and Breathing).

Another way is to notice how the breath affects the thinking mind. For example, there are certain phases naturally occurring within the inhale–exhale cycle of the breath wherein verbal–conceptual thought ceases. These moments are usually very short (perhaps a few milliseconds for a beginner meditator). However, if you can learn where and when those moments of thoughtless awareness occur (via constant observation), and then train yourself to notice them without fail during each breath cycle, your attention itself will fall into flow (caused by the constant, rhythmic noticing of the gap between thoughts) and this will cause those gaps to expand – and, when the gap expands to several seconds at a time, you are hitting access concentration.

Thinking-mind breath perceptions are quite difficult to describe and usually require tailoring for each individual. I therefore am not keen on pushing them as a main method unless the student has already shown an inclination towards that sensory system. However, once a system has been found that is a good fit, thinking-mind breath perceptions can create incredibly rapid absorption and jhana.

Combined modalities are also somewhat common. For example, my car windscreen absorption I reported in the last post involved the “thought gap” (thinking mind) system with the visual system, wherein I noticed that the more attention I paid to the visual field the more the gap between thoughts opened up (until thoughts stopped entirely).

However, to reiterate: I am recommending you seek flow in the breath in the seeing, hearing and feeling modalities first and foremost.

Examples from Students

The inspiration for this post came from working with a couple of students on Skype. Here is what they told me they had observed in their practice, and what my recommendations were for working with their object:

  • PP told me that, after energy work and pranayama breathing as a warm-up before concentration practice, what most stood forward while meditating was a perception of flowing movement in his forehead area. I identified this as an energy object (rather than a breath object) manifesting in the feeling body system. I advised that, from now on, he work exclusively in those modalities. His commands are: 1) Find the object (locate the sense of flow in the forehead area). 2) Be with the object (stay with that sense of flow). As much of his practice as possible is now to be spent doing only that.
  • CK told me that, while sitting, he noticed a small gap of time between his exhalation and next inhalation where there were no thoughts. Realizing this, he began paying attention to this gap, and became calm very quickly and lights appeared. He then shifted his attention to the lights, and both the calm state and the lights disappeared. I advised him that the lights are called the nimitta and are a sign that concentration is deepening. However, he should keep doing the thing that caused the lights in the first place, rather than switching attention to them. In his case, this means continuing to notice the gap where there were no thoughts (which occurred between breaths) each time it happens. Do not try to force the gap wider, but instead just resolve to notice its presence in each and every breath cycle. So: 1) Find the object (the gap with no thoughts). 2) Be with the object (be with the gap when it happens). This will cause a sense of flow in attention itself related to noticing the regular appearance of the gap. Eventually the mind will absorb into the gap and jhana will arise.

The advice is always: “Find the object; be with the object.” The manner in which the object is found is what will vary from student to student.

Being with the Object

Once you have found the object, now you must simply continue to be with the object.

These are the only two mental commands you need to use while meditating. If you lose the object, find it again then be with it. You will probably lose it again quickly, and have to find it again, then be with it for a short while, before losing it again.

This might happen a hundred times before you are able to be with the object for several seconds at a time (access concentration). That is completely normal and is all part of the training. By working with only these two commands however, frustration is limited, as is mental wandering. There is very little doubt in the two commands, “Find the object; be with the object”, and the mind will become very compliant in following them.

Whatever sensory modality you follow the breath object in, the progression to jhana will tend to be the same:

  1. Noticing flow in the breath – even for a moment! – brings sudden pleasure, relief, or gratitude, depending on how you perceive the upward shift toward positive emotion at the time. There may also be the appearance of a light at this point, though it may be subtle at this stage.
    • There may be a tendency to want to “grab” the moment of pleasure, or to want to switch attention to the light. Doing either of these things will tend to make both the pleasure disappear and the light begin to fade. Instead, you must gently bring attention back to the flow in the breath object.
  2. At some point the pleasure/light will no longer distract you from the flow in the breath object and you will be able to stay with it for several seconds at a time. This is the start of access concentration.
    • The pleasure will be thicker and heavier, perhaps occurring tangibly in the abdomen, and the light will become significantly brighter and larger at this point. The tendency to want to pull into the pleasure or the light will sabotage many meditations at this point. The instruction is the same as always: “Find the object; be with the object.” Return to the flow in the breath object.
  3. At some point this previous distraction will vanish and you will be able to stay with the flow in the breath object uninterrupted. This is access concentration proper. During this time the light will become clear, very white, and very large. The thick heavy pleasure in the abdomen will thin out and become consistent and uniform “healing energies” flowing upward into the mind. In access concentration proper however these things will tend not to distract, as this is now a clear slope to jhana.
  4. All you must do is stay with the flow in the breath object and the light – the nimitta – will become all-encompassing and “suck you into” jhana. This may occur gradually (i.e. the nimitta just ramps up its intensity over time) or it may reach “critical mass” and suddenly flash hard, marking the crossing of the threshold into jhana. In my experience I usually see the flash, though I suspect the gradual ramp-ups may result in even deeper absorption.
    • The intensity of the “healing energies” is increased by orders of magnitude on entry to jhana. However, they are refined (thinned-out and uniform) so they are well tolerated by the body. This will almost certainly be the greatest bliss you have ever experienced.
    • The breath flow object, the nimitta, and the blissful emotions arising have all become one single experience at this point, so neither of these things can distract you out of the meditation. The emotions are enjoyed full force because they have become united with the breath itself. There are no thoughts in the everyday sense of the word. At this point the meditation basically runs itself, although there is clearly still a process of effort being applied towards the breath flow object (this effort only disappears on entry to the second jhana). 

The progression for non-breath objects such as energy or kasina is the same in terms of how concentration organizes itself progressively around the object, and the healing energies which manifest. The only major difference tends to be in the manifestation of the nimitta.

In energy objects, the nimitta will tend to produce an ostentatious light show with one or more colours dominating. Purple, gold and green light are all common. The colours may be mixed (with purple and gold being a common combination I experience). The colour “particles” may also tend to become more refined as the meditation progresses, with smaller particles correlating with a refinement in the healing energies.

In kasina objects (such as a flame afterimage) the nimitta will tend to manifest as an intense point of light at the centre of the object.

Summary on Previous Advice

What I have written here does not negate my previous advice. What the “Find the object; be with the object” commands achieve, rather, is to consolidate that advice into simple, actionable points – something you can “do” without overthinking it.

Suppression of thoughts, suppression of eye access cues, introduction of pleasure, mental techniques to sync with flow, and mental grabbing and releasing of the object, still happen under this system. The problem is, when I was writing about those things I was giving you too much to do. The mind responds to very simple and succinct commands. “Find the object; be with the object” delegates those other processes to the mind’s own autopilot ability to find its way through things. They will all happen; but now you don’t have to consciously induce them. The practice itself will train all those things behind the scenes, since they have to happen anyway when following “Find the object; be with the object”.

More on Mental Commands

I don’t want to labour the point or create distractions at this point, as you have plenty to be getting on with. However, it is important to understand how the “Find the object” command works, as this facet of the mind is the basis of more advanced meditations (such as creating complex objects) and I will inevitably return to it in future. So, I will attempt to be brief.

The mind is extremely programmable, especially when it comes to meditative experiences. The way commands are given (and then manifest) however is probably very different to how you think it would work logically.

When you ask the mind to “Find the object”, you are asking it to find something in sensory awareness. In terms of the above meditation, you are asking the mind to find something connected to the breath which is flowing. The mind does exactly what it is told. Even if there is nothing flowing, it will pick something out that “might” be flowing, and perceive it as flowing, and then perceive it as flowing with the breath!

  • So, if you are a visual person, a patch of the dark stuff behind your eyelids might be noticed to be flowing. And then it might be noticed that it flows in sync with the breath.
  • You might instead notice sensations of movement at the nostrils with each flowing into the next.
  • You might instead notice that the sound of each exhalation can begin to flow seamlessly into the sound of the next inhalation. The “gap” between them might in fact begin to break down as your mind enters this flow and co-opts the breath itself into the flow.

Now, many of those phenomena might well be connected to the breath. However, many of them might well just be random sensations that the mind has grabbed and brought into the experience of a flowing breath!

The mind just does it. You asked it to find flow, so it did.

Usually a few seconds pass between asking to find the object, and your mind finding it. Once it learns what that object looks like however, it can start finding it more quickly. That is how your gaps between losing the object and finding it again become shorter.

A non-breath example is how my kundalini meditations start with me asking my mind to find an upward-flowing stream of energy in the visual field. There is a lot of crap already going on in the visual field. After a few seconds however, my mind “decides” that some of that crap is indeed an upward-flowing stream. I have found the object. Now I simply be with the object. It persists as an upward-flowing stream and begins to flow into a nimitti which forms at my third eye then grows bigger and brighter the longer the meditation is allowed to continue, eventually culminating in jhana just as the breath meditation did.

If you know you can find a mental object simply by asking your mind to find it, then waiting till it does, you will never struggle to find your meditation object again.

This is completely the backwards way most people would approach the problem. They would look for certain aspects of the breath as if they were already out there waiting to be found. This is how you end up with people sat on the cushion for years with nothing going on, and no pleasure, no object and no nimitta to be found.

For example, there is very little “sweetness” in a regular breath. Yet if you sit there and assume, with full knowledge of the tricks the mind can play on itself, that the next breath in will be filled with sweetness, then with a knowing smile and closed eyes begin drawing breath in slowly through your nose, you will find it smelling as sweet as a spring meadow. This is why I never had any trouble finding piti (pleasure) on the breath. Assume the air around you is filled with sweetness and watch as your nose comes to life, hungrily sniffing it from the air, searching for and finding it as your brain squirts dopamine at these phantoms.

The mind can pluck meditation objects from essentially random sensations going on in any of your sensory systems. It reminds me of how, even in an empty vacuum, there is a “vacuum energy” which means a particle can spontaneously arise out of that vacuum.

The same rule applies for creating visual objects, too. For example, if you wish to experience the colour blue, you can close your eyes, expect to see it, mentally relax into the dark stuff behind your eyelids, and after some time it may well turn blue. Then you can move onto more complex visual objects, such as intending some symbol to arise then watching in awe as the symbol manifests within the dark stuff behind your eyes. Such symbols can then be used for magickal purposes.

Entire complex scenes can be rendered in the same way – the only deciding factors are your time, your patience, and your faith. This is the opposite way around from visualizing something in ordinary waking life, in which you attempt  to “push” the scene into working memory, only for its fuzzy content to fade quickly and be difficult to maintain. Scenes created in meditation have the benefit of persistence and an eerie “more real than real” quality.

We might call this formula “Will, wait, experience.” You will the colour blue (the mental command to find blue in your experience). Then you wait patiently for it to be found. When it is found, you experience it fully.

In a broader sense, this is the same pattern that appears in magickal experiences (a.k.a. intention-manifestation). The universe can put together your desired situation using combinations of “stuff that is happening anyway”. But I suppose that’s a conversation for another day.

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178 Responses

  1. Aldous says:

    Fucking brilliant article. One of the best I’ve read on the subject (and I’m well read). Truly great.

  2. James says:

    ^ agree with Aldous. You’ve taken very confusing, complex concepts and put them in simple terms, it’s great.

  3. Kautilya says:

    Incredible how often I get exactly just what I needed. Thank you

  4. Kautilya says:

    I have a few questions but I’ll wait till others ask first and see if they get answered. Here’s just a few for now:

    1) What if I find the smell of Lavender blissful or just nice – why not just light an incense stick near me and actually smell it?

    2) I’ve had this at columella, bridge of nose (tried first time) and spot ‘moving’ there to between eyebrows to forehead to skull – an energy sensation. So point is the strongest sensation I had was moving (also happens around nostril but more physical than energetic) what’s up with that?

    3) I’ve been getting good results lately – 30 mins with majority time very clear and with object. I try to detect or rather coerce/imagine pleasure and run with that. Is that your point – imagine if I need to generate piti/pleasure no matter how small or faint – so fake it till you make it?

    4) The river in its entirety is flow yes – but aren’t we supposed to be focusing on that one ‘rock’ over which the river is flowing?

    If I perceived my breath as an overall flowing wave of pleasure it generates some pit I guess but isn’t that just ‘watching the breath’ flow plus a dash of pleasurable seasoning?

    5) So we set intent to “find flow within the Breath” then let go but with effort commencing ONCE you have found it

    Does the second intention of “stay with the Breath” have it owns own time to say this as I’m sure many people say this at least right at the start of a session?

    Thanks Man!

    • Illuminatus says:

      1) I think incense was probably created for this purpose. Go for it!

      2) Energy will ALWAYS begin to flow up the central axis (spine to crown of head). If the energy sensation dominates your experience then try taking that as your object and simply being with that flow.

      3) Stick to the method in this article. Intentional generation of piti is probably something to be explored post-jhana.

      4) Pick one point to focus on if it helps you locate flow there. There is another benefit of picking a single point (e.g. the columella) and that is that it is a nerve nexus, and focusing on certain points along the central axis increases energy/piti. However you should simply stay with wherever you perceive flow, whether that is widefield or narrowfield focus.

      5) There will be effort consumed in both finding the object and being with the object. That effort is called CONCENTRATION.

      The two commands are not spoken once at the start then forgotten, but are mental prompts taking place constantly within your practice.

      They will start off verbally: “Find the object… oh, there it is, now be with it… oh, I’ve lost it… find it again… there it is…”

      But, through practice, the words themselves will fall away and you will be left with simple mental IMPULSES taking place to keep you on track while you practice.

      This is in exactly the same way that, once you have been learning to drive for some time, you no longer need to think, “Okay, ummm… clutch, bite point, gas, put it in gear…” — your hands and feet just move and follow mental impulses without words.

  5. Engadget says:

    Love this article. Thanks for posting so concisely

  6. Illuminatus says:

    Can someone post a link to this article on https://www.reddit.com/r/Meditation/ please? If I do it myself then they will most likely delete it.

    • Kautilya says:

      Don’t know why you bother….I looked at the Reddit page and this piece of shit is a PROMOTED post!

      “People have been meditating for thousands of years. While the practice isn’t new, science is just catching up to its benefits. Some of the health benefits of meditation include relief from stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and acute respiratory infection. It increases IQ, pain tolerance and helps in weight loss. It is also beneficial in maintaining blood pressure plus much much more.”

      Links to a wellness center that provides solutions to “complex chronic health conditions” via ….

      Online Guide! – Online Quiz!! – Downloadable Meditations!!!…….😭

      🤦‍♂️

      • Illuminatus says:

        I bother because thousands of people are trying to learn to meditate from that board. No one knows what they’re doing, the moderators are clueless, and people therefore need my help. If posting a link gets potentially hundreds of people on a better track then it is worth the 2 seconds for doing it.

        • Arpan says:

          Why not do an AMA on reddit, about Concentration Meditation with some catchy references to Magick. You write well and have flashy experiences and a sincere meditation practice to back it all up. You could be as popular as Absolutus. Encourage plenty of people to pm you there, share ppm url with them and induce them to post it on reddit. Btw on the Non Directive subreddit your post(about Do Nothing) was shared.
          PS: I do not as of yet have an account there.

          • Illuminatus says:

            I want to have achieved more spiritually before doing that sort of thing. So, I would want to be able to point people towards some sort of Awakening. At the moment I just have some good concentration techs and can communicate them well. I have not particularly “done” anything with them and would not want to lead people to the same “superpower” delusions Absolutus did, especially with how difficult it is to master concentration.

            • Arpan says:

              Well, there is no dearth of those looking for shortcuts to their issues in life, on and off the cushion. Grind is a must, either to manually attain one’s goals or to attain them by magickal skill which itself needs the grind to develop lol.

              I think your earlier emphasis on people mastering your “Basic Mindfulness Meditation” is a very apt strategy. Anyone who cannot display consistency at a “boring” meditation like that is utterly unsuitable for jhana (there maybe exceptions) .

              Many ashrams in ancient India followed a similar strategy to a much greater intensity:
              Aspirant would be asked to sit cross legged and his legs would be covered in wet mud. Then a seeds (usually gram) would be sown in that mud and the aspirant woud be asked to get up once the seeds have sprouted(takes around 2 days). If and only if the aspirant passed this test of resolve and stability, would the Guru agree to spend his time and energy on him.

        • James says:

          according to their rules this post and linking to your blog is perfectly fine, so ill post it up real quick.

        • Kautilya says:

          I didn’t mean it like that man !

          I get your generosity, And hunger to spread proper meditation. I was just reinforcing in a sarcastic way HOW much that board and mods are just promoting the stupid stuff.

  7. Joe says:

    I find listening to the breath way better for me, as I can always find the breath on my columella on the exhale, but feel nothing on the inhale, which always caused me to lose focus. The most relaxing for me, is the dark stuff behind the eyes. Unfortunately, when the nimitta begins, I am drawn to it and it disappears until I stop looking for it. What is your opinion on listening to the breath for half the meditation, then moving to the dark stuff? Is that ok, or should I stay the entire meditation with one or the other? Great article. Love the two prompts.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Absolutely not! Stay with your chosen object till the sky falls down.

      There will be no switching of objects!

      • Joe says:

        OK. No switching of objects. Just curious. Before a shoulder injury was for years a tail chi practitioner. Teacher taught a Taoist meditation of 5 parts. Every time bell rang you switched, reason being to improve flow of chi through body. Haven’t done this meditation in a long time, but am curious what your opinion is on this type of different part meditation.

        • Illuminatus says:

          Well, you know how tai chi and concentration meditation are completely different? That’s my opinion. 🙂

  8. Kautilya says:

    I’ve been wanting to contribute originally on a tech for a while…..

    Considering your post on the energized mudra and also in the past an ‘additional’ object that takes up ‘bandwidth’ to allow not room for thoughts – even Culdasa whole body Breath and noticing start, middle end. All these methods basically. Would you endor the following train of thought:

    Recently I focused on the sensations at the nostril – or ‘energy sensation’ at columella. I at times included sound, quality and gratitude for breath into it to sort of immerse myself.

    However…. considering this and recent articles. By focusing on say, just the sound of the Breath – the sensations, visuals, sensorsy systems or whatever … become ‘Distractions’….GOOD DISTRACTIONS.

    So instead of:

    breath-distraction (food, sex, revenge) – back to Breath

    It becomes:

    sound of breath – breath based distraction (sensations, visual) – back to sound of Breath

    Really making it all about the Breath!

  9. Kautilya says:

    **** kinda worked today and I think it’s a decent idea but I despite this above – I have a problem! I focused on the sound of the Breath and stayed for half an hour. It was ok, but I felt can a visual or sound based or anything part from sensations actually be pleasurable!?

    Stilll a guy who can do 30 mins focused but don’t think even Access Concentration is happening. I understand it is ALL pleasurable in Flow and while it’s not as much a chore it almost feels like 30 mins of minimal thought a ‘good solid meditation session’ – which is GREAT!…..But being here has taught me that this is a beginning.

    Like what I’ve achieved is a Black Belt especially if you remember where I was when I first starting to email you and post here. Back in the days guys from here would get a Black Belt go to Japan and that was the BEGGINING of their true training into Dans grades ( Jhana!)

    Generally speaking….sound or sensation regardless……Just feel that – I found Flow, feel peaceful, hardly any thoughts, focused, 30-40 mins – why am I not at least on a flight to the Land of the Rising sun??? (Ah…Nimitta metaphor! Lol)

    Is this perhaps mental purification, 5 hindrances and the like…..where these meditations ARE doing something more even though I’m unaware right now??

  10. Illuminatus says:

    Someone just posted it to Reddit with the wrong link (linking to a comment in this thread).

    Wanna delete and have a second attempt?

  11. James says:

    yea that was me, I deleted it and re-posted.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Amusingly, you linked it direct to the comments where we are slagging off their entire subReddit. All in all, it was just about the biggest disaster it could’ve been. 🙂

      But BabaFella reposted properly, and basically no one responded, so I’m through with that board now.

  12. James says:

    you guys ever get an extremely cold sensation, like super cold air moving through your third eye?

    • Illuminatus says:

      I used to get extreme sudden chills that lasted less than a second, but that was way before meditation. If anything meditation has reduced the frequency of them, down from ~1/day to maybe ~1/month.

  13. Samz says:

    Maybe not extremely cold but yes. Also energy currents/pressure.

  14. Samz says:

    People on that subreddit don’t seem too interested in concentration meditation which is absurd. This is an excellent post and it gained almost no traction.

  15. James says:

    I’ve changed up my sits from 20 minutes to 50 minutes (shooting for an hour) about every other day.

    This has helped tremendously with the dissociation/reality splitting phenomenon ive been experiencing, however…

    Last night, a few hours after a 50 minute meditation, I go to bed still kinda in that flow state.

    and after a few hours in bed, I get the exact same feeling of entering the 1st jhana (I wrote about how it was so strong it scared me out of it) or, similar, eating a ton of LSD and the feeling of it kicking in.

    The problem is, I was trying to sleep, not meditate, and all of a sudden I’m hit with this feeling of thinness and like everything around me going to go away and imma blast off…

    That’s cool and all, just – you know, If I’m meditating and ready for it, that’s cool… The whole it just sneaking up on me while I’m trying to sleep shook me a bit.

    hopefully it happens in my sits so I can overcome it with full awareness (or, well, accept it with my full awareness.)

    • Illuminatus says:

      Sounds like a breakthrough of sorts and here are some initial thoughts (which I may add to after my subconscious mulls it over).

      – Meditation before bed tends to ruin sleep once you have a decent level of concentration because concentration is very energizing, and produces kundalini currents up the spine (the two meditations converge in this respect amongst some others). Knock that off if it’s causing you problems. (On the other hand if you hit a hard samatha state with lots of opioid response then this actually gives the best states of rest.)

      – What you’re describing with the energy build-up sounds like kundalini. The thinning out and “blasting off” sensation is classic precursor to an out-of-body experience, very common during kundalini awakening (which your other symptoms also sound like). This is exactly what happened before my experience here: http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/caffeine-dream-hack/#comment-89521

      – To get a classic cessation (which should end this path you’re currently on), standard Buddhist practice would have you enter a samatha state first so it occurs very tranquilly. However that is rather advanced so you can either do them or you can’t, kind of a chicken-and-egg situation. I was doing samatha-based cessations the other week and they were just magnificent. Truly the best meditation experiences one can have on so many levels. It’s like a soft death that happens so flowingly and lovingly that you just surrender to it.

      – However it sounds like you’re going down the path of a fiery kundalini awakening and I was never able to avert that with samatha (which at that time was more like pouring gasoline on the fire).

      The terror you are experiencing during the “thinning out” is the terror of ceasing to exist. That’s what the Dark Night is REALLY all about. But the only way out is through. But you will definitely come back out of it, and choosing to believe in that strongly should help you let go.

      – Can you lucid dream? A workable solution is to intend to enter a lucid dream (which the energies can actually help, although such dreams tend to be chaotic). Once in the dream, sit and meditate and strongly will LOVE. Dream emotions are not filtered through the body so come through incredibly pure (I was going to write an article about dream meditation at some point). This could give you the soft basis for the flowing, loving cessation. It’s entirely possible to do this.

      It is unfortunate that some paths and their cessations have to come at a heavy price and this is because they carry with them a lot of karma (which must be extinguished in the cessation).

      I am struggling to advise you because I’ve already done a lot of “scripting” in this reply and my experience is so limited to just my own. So what I would say is to gather some faith in whatever benevolence you believe exists in the universe and that it will carry you through this, for the greatest good.

      If things get crazy you can Skype me. But these experiences tend to give a LOT of insight and can also be incredibly exciting. So be curious and optimistic about it.

      • James says:

        Update:

        I’ve been doing Isha Kryia 2 times a day (with the video), and Nadi Shodhana.

        I’ve stopped concentration practice altogether – save for doing some kryia yoga (breathing up the spine, chanting OM on the chakras).

        I’ve felt way, way more grounded, and over all better.

        Last night, as I was sleeping, I felt a snake like energy moving through my second chakra, the image that popped into my dream state/imagination was a yellow energy with galaxies in it.

        Also to clarify something about my last post which I realize I didn’t communicate well – I don’t meditate at night time, it’s just when I do concentration practice during the day, when nighttime rolls around I automatically get meditative experiences. And the occasional times I did meditate at night, I got very, very strong experiences.

        • Monk Bro says:

          Quick update on how isha kriya is going and how your mind is responding to it, please? I’ve started doing isha kriya twice but I’ve never made it to two months. I think my mind freaks out because it’s loosing it’s ego and I break away out of fear. Obviously I feel like a complete failure when I can’t follow through with my intention of doing the same kriya for two months.

  16. James says:

    Nighttime always gives me better results for meditation.

    I haven’t tried to lucid dream in forever, so I don’t know if I can but will give it a go.

    “The terror you are experiencing during the “thinning out” is the terror of ceasing to exist. That’s what the Dark Night is REALLY all about. But the only way out is through. But you will definitely come back out of it, and choosing to believe in that strongly should help you let go.”

    Yeah, I got a little copper snake ring from the Isha foundation that is suppose to make sure you come back too…

    about 10 years ago when I sincerely tried to astral project I didn’t make it far because I hit a giant wall of fear… I understand then that all of that fear is something I would have to deal with in order to progress.

    “– However it sounds like you’re going down the path of a fiery kundalini awakening and I was never able to avert that with samatha (which at that time was more like pouring gasoline on the fire).”

    Yup, seems to be the case. Not much to do but just keep moving forward it seems.

    “It is unfortunate that some paths and their cessations have to come at a heavy price and this is because they carry with them a lot of karma (which must be extinguished in the cessation).”

    Yeah.

    “So what I would say is to gather some faith in whatever benevolence you believe exists in the universe and that it will carry you through this, for the greatest good.”

    You know, I have a good deal of faith in the greater good but… A theory I have is that this karma is in such a way that I’m not allowed that lifeline through the experience, but once i realize the illusionary nature of it, i won’t need it again.
    Just a theory, I would of course prefer a pleasant transition.

    I will be doing my best to manufacture pleasant states as best I can through my day and see if it holds over.

    Thanks for the feedback

  17. PotentialFreedom says:

    Hey Illuminatus,

    This article is actually so brilliant. I’ve been focusing on the breath at the columella for a while now and have gotten significantly better at concentration. However, your instructions “Find the object” and “Be with the object” have been nothing short of spectacular for helping me get into access concentration. I would say that, at this moment, I’m on step two under the “Being with the Object” heading. The light sometimes gets distracting and pulls me away from the object but the commands help me so much with getting back on track. I probably would’ve slipped right into Jhana if it wasn’t for the wind slamming the door and scaring me out of access concentration and ruining my groove 30 minutes into my session. I spent another 20 getting back into it but became too exhausted. At one point, I remember being in access concentration (since I was slipping in and out of it the entire time) and a tiny black hole appeared in my vision. Around it, a light flashed and I remember being doused in intense pleasure for a millisecond. Meditation is finally getting interesting again. 🙂

  18. Kautilya says:

    Many meditation guides including TMI suggest playing a game with the Breath to keep it engaged.

    Do you suggest noticing the ‘moments of thoughtless awareness’ could also be one?

    Moments of thoughtless awareness being like those little gremlins at a fun fair that pop up though holes and you gotta smash them with the hammer – without the overactive extortion of course.

    • Illuminatus says:

      “Many meditation guides including TMI suggest playing a game with the Breath to keep it engaged.”

      For beginners, sure. But eventually you want to notice the process of “staying engaged with the breath” and do THAT. It is non-verbal and is part of the concentration process. So that’s an early part of the learning curve.

      “Do you suggest noticing the ‘moments of thoughtless awareness’ could also be one?”

      Depends how you notice. Verbal noting will break thoughtless awareness by definition. Eventually you want to get to grips with the process that creates moments of thoughtless awareness, and that again is part of the concentration learning curve. A hint is: it is about LETTING GO.

      I am currently using a combination of kundalini (activating the whole spine) and samatha and the “letting go” meditation here (Description A): https://albigen.com/uarelove/abandon_release.htm

      This has had BREATHTAKING results. I am considering writing up my experiences these last few weeks but I have other things to do. Plus, people probably won’t be able to jump into my “method” since it’s far up the learning curve. But, eventually all these systems do converge: concentration activates the spine (kundalini) and you HAVE to let go into that process once it’s started.

      Try the meditation I just linked to for a couple of weeks and see if you learn anything from it. Just letting go alone is fully jhana capable. It takes concentration to establish and maintain the “letting go” process. So, there is effort even in applying “no effort”. However, what actually happens is a PROCESS starts (concentration) which becomes less and less effortful as you go, and you let go more and more into that process and jhana arises. Jhana IS a kundalini phenomenon, which is why people get “kundalini awakening” symptoms whatever meditation they do, the longer they do it.

      • Arpan says:

        Description A excerpt:

        Let go of all effort.
        “Letting go of all effort means also letting go of all sense of having to do something, as though there were nothing you have to do, nothing you have to think about.
        Letting go of all effort means letting go of all will and all desire, as though there were nothing that needed to be done or changed.”

        How is it different from Do Nothing ?

        • Illuminatus says:

          Well. What follows is my opinion, from direct experience of both. But of course my experience was dependent on my interpretation of the instructions.

          – DO NOTHING: Allows verbal thoughts. Allows shifts in attention/awareness. Allows “monkey mind”. Etc. Etc. There is very little direction at all. It relies on the mind kind of “tiring itself out” (mediated by sitting still?)

          – LET GO: Doesn’t allow verbal thoughts or shifts in attention/awareness. It has instructions such as: “Letting go is letting go of all effort and all thought. Letting go is letting go of all feelings, desires and images.” This is in fact a HIGHLY directed meditation — a very unidirectional meditation with the arrow pointing towards the letting go of all thoughtforms (and, later, formations at finer levels) as they arise. In fact quite a lot of effort is required, though it is rather a different sort of “effort” from the one humans are used to applying.

          The “let go” meditation is actually very important for one reason, and I was going to write a post about it. The reason is that it teaches the “let go” response. Letting go is a physical action (e.g. dropping a pen) but that IMPULSE to let go also works on thoughts. The mind itself can “drop” mental objects as they arise the same way a hand can drop a pen. In fact, with greater and greater training, you can let go of sensations at very fine levels and enter mental spaces of ever-increasing emptiness.

          This meditation has been a turning point for me and allowed me to make some remarkable achievements these last few weeks. Importantly, training this “let go” response also makes samatha FAR easier. The trick is to let go INTO the breath (especially the out-breath). This builds engagement with the breath AND a letting go/ mental clearing response in the same meditation. It is very powerful. I won’t say any more at this point because practice is required to back it up.

          I am also very impressed with Awareness Watching Awareness: https://albigen.com/uarelove/awa_instructions.htm
          However I prefer “let go” (Abandon Release). Ramana Maharshi seems like the real deal to me.

          • Arpan says:

            ” Doesn’t allow verbal thoughts or shifts in attention/awareness”.
            Not to be argumentative here. But this an “effort” and a seems like a deviation from the instructions on the site.

            “let go” response”: This is exactly what I do in Do Nothing.
            I follow Shinzen Young’s instructions:
            1. Let whatever happens happen
            2. Whenever you become aware of an intention to control your attention, let go off that intention.

            Point 2 here feels exactly like how you described “relaxation response” / “let go response”: I become aware of the intention/preference in form of some “contraction” in my physical being which i let go.
            It’s very much like how an angry person is not aware of his clenched fist and releases it when he becomes aware.
            ” Effort” here lies in choosing to Let Go when your mind prefers actively follow that intention. It’s a rather “negative” effort.

            Also, in your description of Do Nothing, you state: it “relies” on mimd tiring itself. This exact belief was a hurdle I encountered myself. While it might actually be a factor, actively believing this can lead to “wanting”/anticipation/waiting, which is a subtle intention that one might be clinging too.

            It works best when the attitude is: Experience I am gonna have on the cushion is fine for me, i don’t need to go anywhere, I don’t need bliss or concentration, if they come, fine” if not, fine.
            An addition to this that i found powerful(on And off the cushion) is: Considering all experiences( thoughts, enotions, sensory data from outer world) as touches or manifestation of the Same Divine Principle that has created the Universe, thus all are welcome. (I take a more Personal/theistic flavour of that principle, though it has worked with Impersonal/atheistic attitude too) . This creates Equanimity very fast, which deepens into an unconditional bliss.

            Endurance -> Equsnimity -> Ecstacy

            • Illuminatus says:

              This is a matter of interpretation. You have your own take on it and that’s fine.

              But Shinzen’s is clearly different to Ramana Maharshi’s, to me:

              “1. Let whatever happens happen
              2. Whenever you become aware of an intention to control your attention, let go of that intention.”

              has a different mode to:

              “Letting go is letting go of all effort and all thought. Letting go is letting go of all feelings, desires and images.”

              In Shinzen’s, you allow thoughts etc. to arise. It is the INTENTION TO CONTROL THEM that you drop.

              In Ramana Maharshi’s, you ACTIVELY DROP THOUGHTS: “Whatever thoughts, or perceptions, or images or feelings arise, let them go as soon as they arise or even before they arise.” (Emphasis mine)

              This is in fact strongly controlling attention. Dropping a thoughtform before it even arises is in fact a strong concentration/mindfulness skill which I have covered in other posts.

              Do you see the difference?

              • Arpan says:

                Yes I get it. But:

                I dunno what that site says about Raman Maharshi and their method might work well.
                But if that site claims that the method you stated here is Raman’s, they are either mistaken or plain lying to use his name.

                I have been to Raman Ashram and read his talks exrtnsively, he never ever said this stuff.
                He usually had 3 advises for novices:
                1. Just carry a sense of devotion to Shiva always(if they were already lured to that deity as many in South India are)

                2. Do Nothing(never defined it in such intricate detail)

                3. Self Inquiry: Nan Yar( ” who am I” in Tamil): this was described in detail by various very advanced disciples, even the famous Paul Brunton:
                Search for the root of the thought that arises.
                In practice this translates to skimming to a central point in your being away from all thoughts and emotions(after aome practice). He advised staying with this deepest conception of “I am” that you can currently reach, throughout the day so that it deepens. It was never about dropping any intention or thoughtform.

                Awareness Watching Awareness seems closer to Raman’s method than Letting Go (as you defined it)

              • Arpan says:

                Okay 1 semantic difference that makes our interpretation different is:
                You take “letting go” as “actually sending/driving them away”. While I take it as “not holding on to them”, which made it similar to “dropping intention” for me.

            • Illuminatus says:

              “Also, in your description of Do Nothing, you state: it “relies” on mimd tiring itself.”

              Can you point to where I said that? I just checked both articles and I can’t see it anywhere.

              • Arpan says:

                – DO NOTHING: Allows verbal thoughts. Allows shifts in attention/awareness. Allows “monkey mind”. Etc. Etc. There is very little direction at all. It relies on the mind kind of “tiring itself out” (mediated by sitting still?)

                See last line.

              • Illuminatus says:

                Never mind, I just saw it in the above comment. Thought you were implying I wrote that back then and it affected your practice. Time-travelling advice would be a feat even for me.

                • Arpan says:

                  No didn’t affect my practice. I was following shinzen’s instructions throughout with a sprinkling of metta/devotion later on.

      • Kautilya says:

        A few questions:

        – I have started to ‘let go’ by my outbreath being ‘accompanied’ by a feeling of ‘grateful-surrender’; intentionally if I need to kick start it – is this on the right track?

        – When you say notice the process of “staying engaged with the Breath”…. sounds eerily like Vipassana – how would you distinguish?

        * is it the ‘engaged’ part being active which actually increases awareness concerning Breath. I remember Absolutus once messaged back saying how you pay attention to the object is more important than the object itself.

        – My Meditation are a bit like a Sin(x) curve….moment of very natural discursive thought then deeply and very aware of the point of in-out? It’s like I’m 50% total ‘newb’ and 50% “Ah, I’ve got it!”…. wondering if this is a regression or if someone has been though it?

        – I try to focus on the columella sometimes and the most vivid sensation is between my front 2 teeth! …was wondering shall I say fuck it, and make that my focus?

        – Finally, you said recently to someone’s comment don’t change your object in meditation and stay with it (for that session); sometimes however the point of breath hitting the point around the nostril does change by itself… what should be done here??

        Thanks!

        • Illuminatus says:

          There is no question here that would not be answered simply by re-reading the above article.

          Meanwhile, I am only doing an “I am” meditation these days (becoming aware of the feeling of the state of being) so I am somewhat loath to answer samatha questions since it seems like any prior training was only ever leading up to “I am”.

          EDIT: Changed “focusing on” to “becoming aware of”. There is no tight focus as this defeats the point. This is awareness being aware of awareness.

          • Arpan says:

            Can you shed some light on relation between I am meditation and deconstruction of “self” via vipassana ? I understand the difference in methods but don’t they converge ?
            I have very little experience with Vipassana but have done quite a bit of I am while you have , in my understanding, completed a Path in Vipassana. So your perspective would be valuable.

            • Illuminatus says:

              I am not sure they converge. In fact, they seem to have opposite aims. Vipassana stays in the subject-object mode until reality “blinks out” (No Self). “I am” aims instead to simply rest in the “subject” half of the divide, with eventually all reality being perceived as an indivisible part of that Self.

              The question can be referred back to Buddhist “No Self” vs. Hindu “True Self” but, while I was at one point quite sure of the convergence of those two systems, after practising “I am” for some weeks now I am no longer so sure.

              Vipassana wants to reveal the illusion of a permanent self, and the method seeks to break reality down with those aims. “I am” however wants to find the thing that is permanent (awareness) beneath it all and rest in that nature. They are really very different.

              But, a couple of things to bear in mind. Firstly what I know about vipassana comes mainly from Daniel Ingram’s MCTB. Who knows how accurate that is with the original system devised by the Buddha? Secondly I am only a few weeks in to just practising “I am”. Also, while doing “I am”, I attempt to bring as little philosophy or aim with it as possible. All I am trying to do is to find and rest in a sense of BEING. From what I have experienced so far (truly amazing results) this is a far superior path to vipassana. But it’s very early days.

              But some results include things like just waking up happy, feeling like I’ve just had a wash. Also, the bliss is more natural and “transparent” than samatha bliss (which is very artificial in comparison, like someone is injecting you with very refined heroin, and which has various unwelcome effects and a kind of “withdrawal” response I was tempted to write about in its own post).

              • Arpan says:

                “simply rest in the “subject” half of the divide, with eventually all reality being perceived as an indivisible part of that Self.”

                I guess I was defaulting to this during vipassana in many of my sessiond. My meditation career begun with Witness method, which I guess habituated me to fall back on the “subjective half of the divide”. While doing vipassana I would tend to look for the subtlest sensations of the “self” that I could find which often made me skip the objective formations of the mind. I started preferring this modus operandi as it stilled the more grosser movements of the mind more quickly, so why bother studying them ?

                I think this also is the reason why I had better experience with Do Nothing than what you reported. Not reacting to the stuff in my mind usually made more subtle reactionns I was having come to the fore. Aka. those making up my “sense of self” . So Do Nothing ends up being I am meditation for me. Here I think prior habits arebat work. You started with anapanasati, so your mind settled on the breath.

                ” what I know about vipassana comes mainly from Daniel Ingram’s MCTB. Who knows how accurate that is with the original system devised by the Buddha?”

                My doubt regarding MCTB and many buddhist forums user by western seekers is that they are technique heavy. Thus, a sense of an “observer/critic” remains whike practicing a technique in order to evaluate it. This is the reason why i think so many peoplebon these forums can’t seem to enterbthe “flow” for which they need to be given so many metaphors, like you clearly attempt while explaining jhanas on PPM. Being highly skeptical abd left brained myself, I struggled with this for long, while much less educated and intelligent bit much more simple and devout people around me went into deep states very easily. If something is accomplished by countless unlettered village folks, it should not need so much verbal explaination.
                It was this I am methos or Do Nothing(my version) which made me aware of the flaw, and dissolvef the “hardness” of the observer.

                “The question can be referred back to Buddhist “No Self” vs. Hindu “True Self” but, while I was at one point quite sure of the convergence of those two systems, after practising “I am” for some weeks now I am no longer so sure.”
                Do update your insights on this. Because as far as I have studied experiences of Hindu yogis who were also erudite in other traditions, jnana yogic experience of True Self is considered same as Buddhistic No Self. Jnana yogis often use the same term: Nirvana.

                As an aside: I am method leads to new way to deal with mental obstacles and difficulties in life in general: I tend to “mellow out” ONE who who feels the obstacles. Thus eg laziness is reduced to a sensation floating in me while my personal energy keepe working. The “superficial I am” which was feeling sorrowful about working hard evaporates fairly quickly and a deeper and more calm “I am” is revealed.

                • Illuminatus says:

                  I think working with objects itself leads to all sorts of technical obsession. “I am”, how I practise it, does not use an object at all. All that is identified with is a sense of being. Existing. That sense of existence can take many forms (infinite, in fact). But rather than getting caught up on just one of those forms (which is what an “object” really is) I am instead experiencing being through any form that cares to manifest. (So, there is a convergence of No Self and True Self right there — obviously I needed to think about it a little more.)

                  Either way, it’s wonderful. I did a few minutes this morning (I have been doing a couple of hours a day the last two weeks but got up late today). Found myself howling with laughter at work at something I read in my email. All kinds of self-expression is manifesting. And a very healthy deep sense of happiness is growing.

                  It feels like I’m finally waking up. 🙂

                  • Arpan says:

                    “. “I am”, how I practise it, does not use an object at all. All that is identified with is a sense of being. Existing. That sense of existence can take many forms (infinite, in fact). But rather than getting caught up on just one of those forms (which is what an “object” really is) I am instead experiencing being through any form that cares to manifest.”
                    Yes, I tend to “do nothing” and just let awareness”fall” on the underlying substratum of all my subjective experience.Slowly I realize that this “substratum” is not the real “I am” because it dissolves and I fall on a deeper layer and so on. Does that sound right ?

                    Btw please clarify this: do you at times feel difficulty in being “assertive”(not necessarily socially, but as in when you need to push yourself hard at work) after this meditation ? As if the sense of self has faded a bit. Or any other way the “low tide” manifests in your experience ? (Perhaps it might be too early to ask)

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      It’s too early to say. I have been lower energy since the start of September anyway, with the UK seguing into Autumn and noticeably darker days within the space of a week. For the first week I felt like someone had pulled the power cable out of me. It’s getting better now. It is pretty clearly an atavistic hibernation response and does not require paying much attention to.

                      But, to answer your question, if anything I have become MORE socially expressive since starting this meditation. So I think you are looking at too surface level an idea of what “self” means, and are correlating some unrelated things with your meditation.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ Illuminatus: your first para is near to the feeling I am getting since a few days. But that might be because I have a very tough competitive exam coming up and am not sleeping to my full quota for sake of studies.

                      My bad, I guess I should have used “faded sense of desire” not “self”. While I can usually tune into the bliss with this method but I seem to have lost all sense of urgency/fear/desire. One practioner said that as long as you have “fear and greed” as your motivations, you will continue to lose motivation; you need to find motivations like Curiosity and Joy and sense of Service/metta. I have to really concretely intend to study at times. Socially, I cannot say since I have not been meeting many people since over a month; bit I do feel pretty comfortable in my own skin.

                    • To me the “do nothing” method sounds a lot like the The Abandon Release Method from the albigen site, which is the second best method after AWA.

                      When I was doing “nothing” eventually my awareness would settle of just being aware of itself which also brought feelings of bliss and energetic currents here and there.
                      But more chance of falling asleep.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ LB: I had largely worked out my tendency to sleep before I chanced upon Do Nothing.
                      Now, even if sleep comes, my mind notices it quite naturally, instead of falling into it.

                      I think Do Nothing is not a concrete method in its own right in these sense hoelw other methods are. In other methods an experienced practioner can lay down the roadmap of experiences for others who will by and large have an experience on similar lines.

                      While Do Nothing(amd for that matter AWA too) are extremely personalized becausebtheir emphasis is on our deeper subjective self rather than our outer body and mind(places where we humans have a family-resemblence, of weaknesses).
                      Thus Do Nothing plays out differently in different individuals depending heavily on their mental makeup. A highly energetic and experienced concentration practioner may have lots pf resistance, even disdain, to this approach, while a newbie with lots of elements of Devotion or Equanimity might square it off fast.
                      Eg in my case when I Do Nothing, I now naturally come to rest on the “I”. Even if I use a gentle mantra approach like TM, that mantra ultimately becomes a throb which merges into the “I”.

                      I have found most yogis who were into these effortless approaches as very simple beings to begin with. Most of the worldly headstrong like Sadhguru and Swami Vivekanand emphasise a lot on concentratiom. Swami V went to the extent lf using terms like: Drag your mind to the object.
                      While his Guru a very mellow man, though an expert at concentration would just smile at all the passion. Swami V too, whn in a devotional mood would say: all your yoga is self aggrandisement through the backdoor. That ocean of bliss has not touched you. After all what can you do with your vision limited to your little day or a few momentary centuries. Leave everything to the Mother who who can give birth to heroes and prophets and powerful nations by the hundred.
                      Or: Why even control the Mind ? We are greater than all the Gods and demons combined. Just rest in yourself, let the mind and body do their thing.

                      I think these are just 2 approaches to the Ultimate: Absolute Concentration( Nirvikalp Samadhi)
                      Or
                      Absolute Acceptance( Tathatha or Suchness)

                      There are innumerable instances of clash and reconciliation of these 2 approaches in yogic lore.

                      Ultimate synthetic quote lol:
                      That which the Liberated dreams upon his mountain tops. Heroes and prophets arise in the material world to proclaim and accomplish.

                    • Yeah some people have a hard time getting to that sense of I… so descriptions such as awareness watching awareness might be easier for them to get what to “watch”.

                      Meditation objects tend to bring one to the sense of I or awareness naturally and usually the mind is very quite by then… but it’s a longer and slower approach, the best is just to cut it all and go directly towards yourself.

                      Nisargadatta got self realized within 3 years of using all of his spare time on staying on the “I am” feeling.

                      He got a lot of interesting reads and explains the whole I-feeling thingy quite well and in very simple wordings.

                      Reading his material brings me closer to myself.

                    • Arpan says:

                      LB:
                      Yes, he was one of the few individuals who easily knocked out my “pride” in being a skeptic:

                      “Nowadays people are full of intellectual conceit. They have no faith in the ancient traditional practices leading up to Self-Knowledge. They want everything served to them on a platter. The path of Knowledge makes sense to them and because of that they may want to practice it. They will then find that it requires more concentration than they can muster and, slowly becoming humble, they will finally take up easier practices like repetition of a mantra or worship of a form. Slowly the belief in a Power greater than themselves will dawn on them and a taste for devotion will sprout in their heart. Then only will it be possible for them to attain purity of mind and concentration.”

                      These words of his applied to me once, and to many others I see.

                    • @Arpan

                      I haven’t read all of his stuff yet as there are so many, but each and every quote of his applies to myself as well.

                      ” Q: I exist without this body.
                      M:
                      Forget about what you have read. When you did not have the experience of this body, did you have the experience of being?”

                      There are many quotes of this type.

                      As long as one doesn’t have direct experience, it’s all just concepts without any value.

                      If I tell myself that I am god or a jnani tells me I am god, for me it will be just a concept without any direct experience of it.

                      ” Questioner:
                      What is it like to live with no concepts?
                      M:
                      Any answer given to you will be a concept.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ LB:
                      It will all remain a concept, if one does not realize the Truth oneself. Surely yes.

                      I believe a lot of intellectual gymnastics that minds trained in modern methods of education go through act as Japanese Koans. They tire the intellect out of its pride till its willing to Listen. Infact some people attained Nirvana by just listening to masters(including buddha) because they were Deeply Receptive to his Presence. In Jnana Yoga it is said: if after 12 years of yogic discipline a Mahavakya(ome of the 5 Grand Sayings in Jnana Yoga) is uttered in ear of the seeker, he instantly attains enlightenment) .
                      Example of a Mahavakya: Aham Brahmasmi = I am the Supreme Reality(Brahman).

                      At times, as a teenager abd in early 20s I used to get tormented by existential questions and then would feel relieved when I found a satisfactory solution. But time taught me that its a futile exercise. Mind would find some or the other loophole in my solutions.

                      Slowly I became aware of my Irrational attachment to my Rational mind and its assumption that I could “Think out” God.
                      Then I read a quote by Sri Aurobindo:
                      “The capital period of my intellectual development, was when I could see clearly that what the intellect said might be correct and not correct, that what the intellect justified was true and its opposite also was true. I never admitted a truth in the mind without simultaneously keeping it open to the contrary of it…. And the first result was that the prestige of the intellect was gone!”
                      It resonated a lot with me as a result of all the outer and inner debates I had with myself.

                      I find that often a lot of reasoning is done not to reach conclusions but to justify pre existing conclusions. It is other forces, subtler tendencies of mind, which determine the conclusion that is reached. I found my biases against rituals and worship come up and saw how they prevented me from truly widening my search.
                      Eg. i now think that having a concept of Transcendent God is infact a very helpful device. It automatically erodes self conceit and vain ego which often hijack even meditation for their own purpose. It also makes Surrender aspect of Yoga much easier. Infact most jnanis like Nisargadutt and Ramana were devotees too. Ramana talks about Surrender a lot. It also gives a moral compass needed by fledgling yogis. This Self Purification part of Yoga, so emphasised by all masters, is undervalued today because its not good for marketing. While lack of Surrender and Self Purification are the only things mentioned in yogic lore that leads many yogis to become Asuras(titans). Even the purest get seduced by the powers one can encounter along the path.

                      As stated in Kathopanishad:
                      Sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over. So the wise say the path to salvation is hard.

                  • James says:

                    So the long and short of it is…

                    “Just be yourself”.

                  • Arpan says:

                    @ Illuminatus/LuminousBliss: can you answer the above questions ?
                    Especially the latter one.

                    • Not sure what the question is,

                      But usually the more I practice the more I want to “Get away” from this world and rest inside myself. this comes for me naturally. it’s a way for me to charge up.

                      When I am aware of myself to some degree during work or when watching a movie or whatever I feel degrees of bliss starting to radiate, sometimes to the point that it’s quite overwhelming.

                      I don’t feel the need to express any of this towards people, but only towards myself alone.

                      Anyway you know what they say, bliss that comes and goes isn’t from the self.

                      When bliss will stay permanently then it’s from the self 🙂

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ LuminousBliss:
                      This was the question:

                      http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/concentration-meditation-find-the-object-be-with-the-object/#comment-93298

                      Well yes, the issue is I need to really perform these days and the examination schedules in outer world do not follow the rythms of my soul.

                      I have lived according to this inner bliss at other times and it does exactly what u said: “Recharge me”

                      I never really bcm extroverted even then. But I can do what’s needed, including necessary socialization with ease.

                      But these days I just need to work, while inwardly it’s not “worktime”.

                    • @Arpan

                      You said:

                      ““. “I am”, how I practise it, does not use an object at all. All that is identified with is a sense of being. Existing. That sense of existence can take many forms (infinite, in fact). But rather than getting caught up on just one of those forms (which is what an “object” really is) I am instead experiencing being through any form that cares to manifest.”
                      Yes, I tend to “do nothing” and just let awareness”fall” on the underlying substratum of all my subjective experience.Slowly I realize that this “substratum” is not the real “I am” because it dissolves and I fall on a deeper layer and so on. Does that sound right ?”

                      Yeah, the sense of I am, being, I-feeling, awareness or whatever you wanna call it changes all the time.

                      The more you stay in what you believe to be your being the more deeper you get, and the more it starts to change and reveal deeper parts of it.

                      However I see many times people trying to figure this stuff out intellectually, like they are searching for the real “I am” and trying to understand it in an intellectual way.

                      But it’s better just to shut up and let the ego crash into itself until self realization happens.

                      The I-feeling is not real, it’s a function of the ego, the more you stay on/in it the more it becomes weaker (also vasana gets weaker) until one day it’s so weak that the self will absorb and “kill” the ego, and that’s when self realization happens.

                      The sense of “I” won’t exist anymore”

                      But yeah I understand what you are talking about.

                      You could say not much effort is needed to stay on the feeling of being, you just need to stay on guard that you don’t get sucked up in some drama.

                    • Arpan says:

                      ” let the ego crash into itself ”
                      Exact words for my approach.
                      Yes, I don’t intellectualize it atall.

                      “The more you stay in what you believe to be your being the more deeper you get, and the more it starts to change and reveal deeper parts of it.”
                      Yeah, I don’t get to hear about “shifting nature” of ” I am” atleast in initial stages of meditation, from enough ppl. So had a doubt.

                      “You could say not much effort is needed to stay on the feeling of being, you just need to stay on guard that you don’t get sucked up in some drama.”

                      Yup, that’s the effortlesssness I bring in and wanted to confirm if its right.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ LB:
                      Also, you commented once( On Do Nothing post on PPM): I feel like I am falling in love.

                      Well, I remembered your words and can feel how accurate they were. I don’t initiate conversations usually, don’t feel the need to either, with possibility of such bliss in inner silence. But often when people come to talk, such affection goes into my words without intending to that it gets embarassing. At my age, I think I created a misunderstanding in minds of some females that I am “into” them becausebof the expression of my eyes and tone of voice.

                      Though I still have to figure out how to integrate this all with outer world without resorting to: chuck it all, I will do what my inmost being says(which I suspect is correct). Concentrative meditation is more pro-life in that sense.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      @ Arpan:

                      “I never really bcm extroverted even then. But I can do what’s needed, including necessary socialization with ease.”

                      “At my age, I think I created a misunderstanding in minds of some females that I am “into” them becausebof the expression of my eyes and tone of voice.”

                      You are expecting meditation to somehow improve your social life. On some level you are meditating to get that area of your life handled (otherwise you wouldn’t keep mentioning it).

                      Will enlightenment improve your social life? Maybe. Probably.
                      Is it useful to think of meditation as a tool to improve social life? I would say: NO.

                      Sure, it is a main lure that draws people into meditation. “Work on your inner game through meditation! Get laid, improve productivity, improve happiness! Blah blah blah”.

                      But I can honestly say that those things really have nothing to do with meditation.

                      E.g. you would expect to do “I am” for many months without even peeking to see what effect it has on any other area of your life. That’s because the “I am” feeling is irrelevant to the content creating that feeling. You are trying to get down to your “I”ness regardless of content.

                      I have found through many years of trying that there is no meditation you can whip up, purpose-built to get you some desirable state for socializing. For example jhana can make you ecstatic and whipped-up into desire for socializing or it can make you sedate, withdrawn and reflective. It is totally non-dependable for anything external to meditation.

                      If I were you I would make meditation my main pursuit and treat social life as something separate. If good effects bleed into social life, cool, but don’t depend on it — certainly don’t measure meditation success by anything social! People are so random generally you’re setting yourself up for a mindfuck.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      P.S. The idea that meditation would make you extroverted is surely something you’ve pulled out your ass.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ Illuminatus: you are getting ahead of yourself.
                      I don’t atall think of meditation as an aid to outer life. Infact I have tried to discourage that idea in my past comments:

                      http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/concentration-meditation-find-the-object-be-with-the-object/#comment-92785

                      I was merely discussing it’s effects on outer life because it was impacting my motivation these days, not saying that I wanted it to benefit me outwardly.

                      I have no desire to be more extroverted than I already am. And I have little interest in socializing beyond what’s required for work. And I am content with it.

                    • Arpan says:

                      To clarify: Throughout I was talking about lack of motivation to do what I usually do(at my baseline state) as a result of the states I am getting into these days. While you seem to have understood it as: I wanna improve my baseline state.
                      Meditation is purely a spiritual endeavour for me, meant for self discovery. The only outward benefit I ever sought in past was: better concentration, which I have now.

                      I am perfectly aware that these states just need assimilation and I will be right on track, as has often been in the past. But I am a bit short of time to wait for that to often.

          • Kautilya says:

            That’s fine….and yes I will re-read. I still think Samatha/Yogic meditation is invaluable to cultivate a focused, powerful blissful mind – but as you once explained this forum and us ar al evolving and sharing concepts.

            The questions were actually little quirks I wanted to iron out and funnily enough the major theme I wanted to ask was regarding this ‘I am’ approach.

            I’m kinda following Adyashantis suggestions and his was when his teacher said ‘if you are always at war with your mind, you will be fighting forever’

            The approach is to let Consciousness ‘do its own thing’ – it is dynamic and it will settle into itself.

            Perhaps you could write a post: “I Have moved on to ‘I Am’

            Or something of the like. I know it’s hard due to wanting to avoid techniques, concepts etc. but that’s in all meditation. If you truly feel this is a step forward in Awakening and stated that promoting this is part of your Dharma then I think you should.

            Basic guidelines for “I Am”???

            • Kautilya says:

              Also for Arpan and Luminous Bliss and others experienced in this.

              Note your own beginning attempts and see that some suggestions could mean “sit there, do fuck all, let your mind do what it wants”

              I personally want to dedicate (devote!) a few hours daily to this practice towards the night, whilst keeping the day for concentration meditation.

              Feel like an evolutions coming man…

              • Attention needs to be on the I-feeling, anything else should be ignored

                • Kautilya says:

                  What “I-feeling” ??!!

                  • Illuminatus says:

                    I guess I will have to do a whole post on it. I’m going to practise more first, though.

                    Sit and say, “I am”. There is a sense of a presence, an “I”-ness forming, which is aware. It is probably very subtle, perhaps undetectable at first. It is also very fleeting to begin with.

                    But, with time and practice, you can come to reside in your “I”-ness for hours at a time.

                    I am sure that all my previous meditation experience led up to this point, so it’s not like I am saying “this is easy”.

                    • Monk Bro says:

                      I wanna step in here and say that if we really knew what “I” was or felt like -we’d be enlightened already. The feeling that follows after sitting down and saying “I am” must be the minds made up idea of what “I” feel like. What’s really happening, and why “I am” meditation works as a tech is, the desire to know what I really am is strong enough that just saying “I am…” then waiting for the answer makes the mind so alert and focused that it becomes a good meditation. It’s the deep longing to know that triggers the concentration.

                      This meditation certainly isn’t for everyone. A messy mind will just daydream the whole session away. Now sitting with ones back straight and daydreaming might not be so bad but if you want more control of your life and stuff I think working with intentions is better in a case like that. Intentions like “focus on the breath”, “keep the back straight”, “gaze at the third eye”. I am is like the last level imo.

                  • Illuminatus says:

                    The model I am currently working off (which I basically made up) is that God is looking for vehicles through which to experience himself, his creation.

                    Sitting and developing a strong, coalescent sense of “I” or “being” allows God’s mind to reflect in yours and he comes to experience himself through you.

                    I just threw those words together so it’s not quite there yet, but maybe you get my drift.

                    I do not bring that philosophy into the practice, though. I just say “I am” then look for the feeling of being. Later on I can just say “Being” and it causes me to fall into a continuous state of being.

                  • Arpan says:

                    Raman Maharshi used to say: Trace the thought to it’s root. There lies the “I” .
                    When you think any thought, eg “I am”. Observe closely from where that thought originated in your consciousness. With practice, you will be able to trace it to a deeper and deeper point wihin you as you peel into the layers of mind that you currently are identified with.

                    Once you get a hang of that deep point within you, you can just maintain your awareness of it directoy in subsequent sessions, instead of having to trace it again.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      Ishiwara Maitreya says that a better question than “Who am I?” is “What is awareness?” I found that a useful question to toss around for a couple of days; it answered itself via the unconscious mind then I found “I am” or just “Being” to reveal the I-feeling very easily after that.

                      I think most of this process is the unconscious mind being prompted to unscramble itself.

                  • @Monk Bro

                    Well Ramana did say not everyone is ripe enough to start self inquiry.

                    One who serious wants liberation will spend many hours practicing it.

                    “I wanna step in here and say that if we really knew what “I” was or felt like -we’d be enlightened already”

                    Not everyone have a good sense of this I-feeling, but it simply implies that you feel your being, that you exist, that you are present and ignoring all else.

                    The I-feeling we focus on is fake, not real, and that’s why we focus on it until it dies.

                    Only practice will make that happen.

                    It’s not a one silver bullet shot that you get to have a clear perception of this I-feeling and you are self realized.

                    There is no need to try to understand why this self inquiry method works, all this won’t matter shit when one is self realized. till then it’s all just entertainment and more concepts till you get there.

                    Having faith in jnani yogis who have practiced this and became self realized is plenty enough.

  19. Not just Ramana, there are plenty of past and current living persons that are self realized (some final depth and some not ) that have achieved it with self inquiry (feeling the sense of I-ness)

    I have totally given up on any other form of meditation as I simply believe they won’t lead to enlightment.

    They are a waste of time no matter how deep the experiences get.

    I am getting so much bliss from just being aware of myself.

    Most jnani Yogi’s have been self realized within 2-5 years while praciticing many hours each day.

    An extensive read about anything related to self inquiry and direct experienece will make you see that all other Yogi systems are just a boring distraction tools with no real permanent shifts.

    • Illuminatus says:

      I stumbled upon “I am” in my own practice a few months ago. It was while walking at first, then while meditating, I got a sense of “looking out from my own eyes”. It was a very powerful experience. That sense now begins to appear most meditations. Things are coming together for me but slowly. Everything we have discussed in this comment thread so far manifests in my meditations in some form or other every time. They are all sides of the same die. They all point to the same thing. There is some awareness beneath everything and when you touch it you glow.

    • Arpan says:

      Well yes. But it’s not suited to those who are looking for fireworks only, not serious realizations. It is horrible in bringing fireworks to one’s experience if that’s what one wants, but suprisingly quick if one’s disinterested in that stuff.
      That had been my experience atleast

      • That’s why Michael Langford is correct when he says one needs a very strong desire for liberation to attain manonasa.

        • Arpan says:

          Indeed. Jhanas, visions etc can be a good marketing tool though. It attracts many ppl to meditation and those who are “meant for” a spiritual path would ultimately go on to attain deeper things.
          Danger in the Internet-is-the-guru age lies in people with petty motives and weak constitutions ruining themselves in what Shinzen Young calls: “Intermediate Zone”.
          That is where a sprinkling of metta/devotion can come in handy.

          • Kautilya says:

            Or TOTAL Devotion can come in handy. Many realized saints used pure absolution and unconditional love towards the Divine as the path to liberation.

            I’m sure Shinzen Young is a top bloke but even a Nobel Prize winner isn’t Einstein or Tesla – truly on another league. Which Ramana Maharishi is – absolutely the real deal.

            “Shinzen Young is an American meditation teacher. He leads residential and phone-based meditation retreats for students interested in learning the Vipassana tradition of Buddhism.”

            Phone-based meditation retreats…..is it more if I call from mobile???

    • Kautilya says:

      Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raj Yoga…..

      You are a pretty advanced meditator and I respect your opinion and in fact often ask for ‘hard direction’ myself. Don’t get the all others are a waste of time thing though; Vipassana is brilliant technique and the story sounds good, but the all say why other methods are inferior.

      I personally think you mostly get westerners coming out with this sort of stuff as a residue from the Jude’s-Abrahamoc thought the are so keen to distance themselves from. You hardly get very spiritual Indians think this way. They are either corrupt as fuck or of the spiritual variety don’t even say a good Christian or Muslim is on the ‘wrong path’.

  20. Some living persons that are self realized fully or to some degrees are:

    Michael Langford
    Edward Muzika
    Lakshmana Swamy + Sri Sarada (both of them are living in solitude and are blissing out to death :P)

    Robert Adams (I think he died few years ago)

    This is for now what I rmemeber on top of my head

    • Illuminatus says:

      Some reliable links to their stuff please?

      • Kautilya says:

        Adyashanti is very good

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4AZ9DxtDyo

        He really tackles this letting go in True Meditation.

        Jus realized I was pondering it the other day. He really addresses awareness being itself and how it is dynamic, but at one point he stresses being ‘neck down’ that our body is an amazing thing and that our senses themselves should be totally engaged.

        Now if we put zero effort in our minds may just take over. I with zero effort can end up creating a new country as well as several new dishes and a few movies.

        Should I just let this happen or gently return to the body (or breath for example)?

        In Wing Chun we have something called Bong Sao, it’s not a block, it’s effortless in exertion but the end result is complete evasion of an attack and an opponent being off balance and pulled into a chop straight onto the throat!

        More so….ever seen an Aikado master …. how much ‘effort’ are they using?
        Were they always like that?
        Because they are not exerting … does that mean they are not focusing?

        I still believe in Jhana and believe effortless and effort simultaneously are ideal.

        Effortless Effort – does that even make sense???

        Probably not in English……just like being Awake and Asleep at the same time

        Oh wait!…. that’s Yoga Nidra

        • The thing is most mainstream teachers out there have reached a small “awakening” and after that they go out there teaching others and writing books thinking they have reached the full depth, which is clearly not the case.

          Their ego thinks “ok now that I have reached some sort of permanent shifts in conscious I have nothing to attain anymore”

          They are getting tricked by their ego and it stops them from reaching the final depths of self realization.

          Most mainstream persons are like that.

          It’s usually the persons that barely have any attention and audience that are the “real deal”

          So I would follow the ones that truly are self realized.

          Everyone needs someone saying “yes, enlightment is possible” without pulling nonsense on you like those neo advaita.

          • The final depth is when one doesn’t perceive a universe and a body anymore.

            One can be self realized and be bathed every single moment of his life in bliss and divine love, however if he still perceive a universe and a body, he still has work to do.

            their ego hasn’t completely died yet, yet some of them are getting tricked and stop at some point from reaching further, this is a mistake.

          • Arpan says:

            Completely agreed.
            Problem most yogis who are sincere to the backbone are not very social, and rare are those who are articulate in Western languages. Infact Swami Vivekanand and Paramhansa Yoganand(as mentioned in his autobiography) were disinclined to continue University education once they entered depths of yoga but their teachers exhorted them to continue as they would not be “acceptable” to Western audience without it(Those were days of Colonialism and a non-white person as it is would find it difficult to teach in West).

            Sadhguru too states that he purposefully planned this birth to be more socially acceptable.

            Most liberated people see little value in modern education once one perceives phenomenal Universe as a group of few stray bubbles in a corner of a Vast Rich Void. A famous devotee of Shiva poetically states his perception: Oh, Shiva dances in ecstacy and a drop of energy drops from his leg. The drop transmutes into Universes upon Universes.

            Rohit Arya’s videos on youtube cover many “spiritual bypasses” including the one you mention. He infact goes to the extent of saying that he had rather avoid anyome who calls Adwait as Non Dualism because he is most probably a frothy intellectual catering to a lazy over educated audience which needs to justify its laziness as a path to enlightenment.

  21. For Edward:

    http://itisnotreal.blogspot.co.il/?m=1
    http://www.wearesentience.com
    He also has YouTube videos

    Robert Adams (YouTube videos) he also has some articles but I am on my phone so I can’t right now search for them)

    Lakshmana Swamy + Sri Sarada

    https://o-meditation.com/2015/12/23/saradammas-realization/

    Very interesting read about her experienece

    • Illuminatus says:

      LB, what is your opinion on?:

      – Sadhguru
      – “Richard”, creator of Actual Freedom Method (http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/)

      Thanks

      • Arpan says:

        Someone sent me AFM link a while back.
        This guy seems to have, not a wrong, but a very monochromatic ariel view of spirituality.
        Eg. He talks about the necessity of sitting with eyes closed/devotion etc in “traditional spirituality”(whatever that may mean).

        What will he say about Yoga of Action( Karma Yoga). In yogic lore plenty of people became enlightened by that. Infact, plenty of Enlightened Yogis were kings, ministers, businessmen, military strategists, butchers, weavers, cobblers and housewives.

        He starts with a pages upon pages devoted to showing how “bad” the human condition is and how things are not “improving”. This is mixing up SJW concerns with spirituality. Spirituality is an evolutionary process, social justice and “development” is not its prime concern.

        There is an entire tradition of yogis seeking to raise mass consciousness from Rational to Intuitive level and then to higher planes.

        This is a description in Vedas about the struggle to bring Consciousness down to the Physical Level(usually Physical remain untransformed, the seeker only transforms his mind):

        The battle seems endless. One “digs and digs,” said the Vedic rishis, and the more one digs, the more the bottom seems to recede downward: “I have been digging, digging… many autumns have I been toiling night and day, the dawns aging me. Age is diminishing the glory of our bodies.” Thus, thousands of years ago, lamented Lopamudra, the wife of the rishi Agastya, who was also seeking transformation: “Even the men of old who were wise of the Truth and they spoke with the gods… yea, they reached not an end.” But Agastya was not easily discouraged; his reply is magnificently characteristic of the conquerors these rishis indeed were: “Not in vain is the labour which the gods protect. Let us have the taste of even all the contesting forces, let us conquer indeed even here, let us run this battle-race of a hundred leadings.” (I.179)

      • I have always found Sadhguru not to be the real deal just like most gurus out there that have a big audience.

        the more I listen to his enlightenment talks and definitions the more I cringe.

        Sorry that I am being so bold, but I rather follow persons that have gone all the way to self realization and can answer every question from a practitioner right to the point and in all honesty.

        I don’t know really know anything about Richard.

        There is also another guy (passed away at 2008) called Ishiwara Maitreya. he isn’t very known, he has a book though, I have the full PDF file if you want I can send it to you.

        He is fully enlightened as well, I will link here to a short interview about his experience:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFYVh9FsLrM

        (there are 2 parts to the video)

        While he didn’t use self inquiry, however he used some awareness method that over time develops to the “I ness” feeling, so his method is less direct and less powerful.

        There is another guy (rajiv)

        If I am not wrong in 3 months he got self realized to some degree:
        http://www.wearesentience.com/uploads/7/2/9/3/7293936/autobiography_of_a_jnani.pdf

        Here is an autobiography of experiences as he progress with the help of Edward.

        It’s very interesting and inspirational, in a way it can show you where you are on the map.

        That guy motivated self inquiry, that while you hold the “I feeling” you mentally sink backward, this makes it much more powerful and turns one attention to the self much strongly with much much less for the mind to get distracted.

        I myself have started now days meditate 4-5 days on work days and 6 + hours on weekends.

        You will naturally feel you want to rest in the “I feeling” most of the time.

        I also try as much as possible to feel the “I ness” while I walk to work, at breaks, while waiting or sitting in the bus.

        This is really great, just being aware of yourself you are in a state of bliss, so easily and simply, how could I ever have overlooked such a practice I don’t know 🙂

        • Illuminatus says:

          Thanks for all these links. I watched all of the Ishiwara Maitreya interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFYVh9FsLrM).
          I believe in him.

          But — and this is just a joke, really — doesn’t he remind you of a Star Trek character? Like, a higher being they would meet on an away mission or something.
          Or maybe Sarek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHPtcQSvjxI
          Seriously, check that out — very similar face shape, voice and mannerisms. Quite funny. 🙂

          Anyway, I went out last night and practised a meditation inspired by Ishiwara Maitreya, which I might call “acceptance meditation”. The method is that you reconceptualize your experience in the following way:

          – There is no free will and you have no control over your choices or your life.
          – Everything is part of God’s plan and has some beneficial effect somewhere down the line.
          – Full enlightenment is inevitable and SURRENDER to experience is the fastest way to complete the process.
          – Accept all situations fully and unconditionally.

          So, on a night out in a boozy bar there are plenty of situations that are “unacceptable”. Usually I would perhaps do something like: 1) Try to penetrate the sensations to find No Self or break them up some other way, or 2) Find (or create) some piti or metta concept to absorb into to get some good affect to override the situation. Or, if I’m in the Equanimity ñana at the time the formations of the situation just pass through me like ghosts anyway.

          So, what I did last night instead was to accept unpleasantness as being totally out of my control and part of some divine plan. It is quite an effort to accept certain things and there is definitely an “acceptance process”. My first approach to this process was to hold the unpleasantness in mind and body till the acceptance triggered its dissipation. This seemed far more effortful than I felt it should be, so I tried the idea that if events really are in God’s plan then I shouldn’t need to graphically view them internally (which is more of an insight approach anyway), and that accepting things should have more of a “Teflon” feel, like they just fall away as soon as I remind myself they are God’s doing. Well, this worked very quickly. The key is to always recognize when you are trying to accept something in order to “change” it (ego) and stop there and remember you have to accept whatever happens because it happens regardless of your attempt to control. When things were accepted via this due diligence, they could fall away very quickly.

          Now, this had very strange perceptual effects. Have you ever experienced “dimensional jumping”, either via the mirror technique or just as a result of some other metaprogramming method? Well, each “acceptance” gave a noticeable “warp” in perceptions (I used to talk about this a little bit in terms of creating custom reality programs to integrate, which I would call Easter Eggs, but that was a long time ago). IF jnanis have been using similar scripts then this would account for the very rapid progress of some of them. “Dimensional jumping” is a very noticeable reality warp in which the contents of one’s mind is altered palpably within the space of just one moment, giving a kind of “discontinuity” or “unknowing event” feel. However the new reality is so coherent that one segues into it easily.

          • Arpan says:

            “The key is to always recognize when you are trying to accept something in order to “change” it (ego) and stop there and remember you have to accept whatever happens because it happens regardless of your attempt to control. ”

            This is the exact realization that made my meditation take off. One tends to forget this in times of prolonged discomfort if one has recently felt bliss.

            There goes a zen quote:
            Sitting silently, doing nothing, the grass grows by itself.

          • Haha yeah he is quite a character

          • James says:

            That dude is great at explaining what enlightenment is. The way he looks, kinda feels like he might just smile at you and you’d dissolve.

            • Illuminatus says:

              Anyone else get the impression he’s reading her mind constantly and passively? So, he’s just receiving her mindstream by looking at her whether he wants to or not.

              • Arpan says:

                Seems to me that it is not intentional. Many advanced practioners claim that mind reading is one of those capacities that become very organic/natural to oneself as seeing and hearing is to ordinary people.

                Here is what a French yogi (lived in India) had to say about this:

                “[…]progress manifests outwardly also. Actually, the wall between inner and outer grows increasingly thin; it seems more and more like an artificial convention set up by an adolescent mind, self-absorbed and self-centered. The seeker will feel this wall slowly losing its consistency; he will experience a kind of change in the texture of his being, as if he were becoming lighter, more transparent, more porous, as it were. This change of texture will be felt at first through unpleasant symptoms, for while the ordinary person is generally protected by a thick hide, the seeker no longer has this protection: he receives people’s thoughts, intentions, and desires in their true forms and in all their starkness, exactly as they are – assaults.”

                This also ties in neatly with the “dissolving” feeling mentioned by James.

          • PotentialFreedom says:

            Well this is a wild synchronicity. I have been doing the exact same thing except my experiences have led me to start accepting my experiences regardless of how they seem. Ever since I started doing the Sadhguru Kriya meditations twice a day, the boundary between the outside and inner worlds have started to dissipate. I find events that occur to be more linked to my thoughts. However, the automatic processes of my subconscious have the most control over how my experience is by default. For a long time, I’ve been trying to change my life using intention-manifestation but the circumstances I’m in now have left me feeling pretty powerless. My subconscious thoughts are so negative and hold so much power. So instead, I’ve just started to accept my situation and things have become much better in my life. Every time a negative thought enters my mind, I remain neutral against it and try not to feel anything about it. I believe that this is the key to changing beliefs and the world around you. In this way, this is a process of letting go of very solidified, subconscious thoughtforms.

            • Monk Bro says:

              I’ve had the same experience with Sadhguru’s kriya. I think it has to do with the open palms. Openness, mindlessness is what open palms induce, I think. You wouldn’t want to give intention-manifestation meditations to lay-people.
              My take on the specific effect of Sadhguru’s kriya is that it’s very powerful and transformative but the ego is left powerless. This kriya has no effect on the power of the will.
              This contrasts the effects of khabalbhati and the like. You feel like a god. And everyone thinks you’re a god. The only problem is when you’re a god you feel like you have a sense of responsibility. I could change the mood of 20-30 people in a room in a whim. I made peoples head turn just by looking at them and acknowledge them in some way.
              There was an experience on a bus with four young women on the row in front of me all giggling, laughing and it was obvious it had to do with me. I’m a pretty private person and not so experienced with women so I didn’t give them any attention. I was just buzzing, enjoying the sound of women laughing. After some time the loudest one that also happened to sit right in front of me suddenly turned around in her seat and just looked at me. I was turned off and they were more timid after that. The girl on the far left was so quiet the whole time I didn’t even realise she was with the other girls. I looked at her, noticed her fine clothing and thought “this one’s got class”. Immediately she turned her head and looked at me as if someone she knew had called on her.
              Pranayam is trippy. I was tripping balls, it was like a dream. I achieved a perfect posture. But- I started feeling a tightening in my throat that wouldn’t go away and the fear of responsibility turned me away. I’m far from a balanced human being so I could do some serious damage with that kind of power.
              Changing the atmosphere of a place simply by being there has become normal to me now though. It happens as long as I’m meditating. When go through periods of non-meditation I blend in like everyone else and I feel normal, which is nice. But when you realise you have to be miserable to be normal you don’t care about blending in or not.
              That turned out to be long 🙂

              • Arpan says:

                “I was just buzzing, enjoying the sound of women laughing.”
                This is beautiful. I do the same thing when people are around, especially women. I feel it attracts people to me abd yet purity of my consciousness/goodwill is not invaded by personal desire, anger, envy etc. If people are quiet, I imagine myself filling up and then expanding as a sphere of White Light of Knowledge/Bliss/Love/Harmony/Health/Power and engulfing the room, feeling the insecurities behind each mask and soothing them.

                “The only problem is when you’re a god you feel like you have a sense of responsibility. ”
                You might like this poem:

                https://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/sa/37_02/0104_e.htm

                This para starts capturing the power aspect of yoga:

                ..I did the Hathayoga in three days,
                Which men with anguish through ten lives effect,–
                Not that now practised by earth’s feebler race,
                But that which Rávan knew in Lunca, Dhruv
                Fulfilled, Hiranyakashipu performed,
                The Yoga of the old Lemurian Kings.
                I felt the strength of Titans in my veins,
                The joy of gods, the pride of Siddhas. Tall
                And mighty like a striding God I came
                To Vyása; but he shook his dense piled locks,
                Denying me. “Thou art not pure,” he cried.
                I went in anger to Himaloy’s peaks,
                And on the highest in the breathless snows14
                Sat dumb for many years. Then knowledge came..

                • Monk Bro says:

                  That was an intense poem! Got some shivers. Being a god is non of my interest. If I wanted to be a god I’d get a child or a dog.

                  • Arpan says:

                    This yogi is known for his poetry from intutive and higher levels of mind.

                    ” I’d get a child or a dog.”
                    Lol ..this is what he emphasises in many other poems. That we cannot reach our true greatness until we realize something of the Titanic strength within us. And yet realize that no matter how great we become, in context of the Eternal we are but a momentary moth. Our wisdom is ignorance and our strength an impotence, mere playthings in hands of the Force that sends planets and suns spinning into and out of existence.

                    • Kautilya says:

                      And how do we realize this Titanic strength within us??

                      From a perspective of faith, I have always known and always will that the Divine is the ultimate Source of which I’m only a part.

                      I would like to ‘blend’ that pure spiritual aspect with my ‘Titanic Inner Power’ permeating into my ‘mundane daily life’ and goals.

                      🙏

                    • Arpan says:

                      The general answer is that “self realization” involves it all. Eg Shinzen Young calls Enlightenment a “multi faceted jewel”. The facet of it you see first usually depends on the kind of yogic path you have been following. But once you have the jewel in your hand you can rotate it and see any facet you want.
                      Ultimate heights of Love cannot be reached without reaching ultimate heights of Knowledge and Power and similarly for reaching Ultimate heights of knowledge and Power. If you, via path of knowledge, become conscious of Oneness with Everything, you are bound to feel universal love and limitless power.
                      However such power is not “egoistic” much like such love is not feverish attachment and possessiveness. It is the sovereignity of a king and the patient labouring strength of an ant all felt together. The power of a man to face bullets and of a woman to raise a child. It pays as much attention in designing a blade of grass as in making of Jupiter. Napoleon eg is the kind of person who tasted power and yet when ascended the throne identified himself with only his body and mind and tied the needs of Europe to that of his personal ego. This causes the reaction which leads to downfall. You may read that poem Rakshasas by Sti Aurobindo. Krishna states thst Ravan is right when he says that He is Me and I am Him. But is mistaken in taking himself to be only his Body and Mind. As long as one is centred in Body and Mind, the appropriate relation is that of a servant/child in relation to the Universe. From the viewpoint of True Self it is that of God.
                      Yes, you are a part, but not Only a part. You have the whole of It within you. Each part is the Entire Universe in a different frontal appearance. To realize your power is to simply not shy away from expressing it when forces of unconsciousness deter you from the trouble by fear of fatigue and injury and death .A sense of revulsion to power also results in “fanatically saintly” ppl who consider paths of power as “Satanic” and shun the possession of siddhis. This usually results in the helpless other wordliness that can often enter very spiritually mature civilizations in external matters

                      As an aside:
                      Your outer mind(trained by your culture or spiritual practice) influences your experience in a way that the same energy/level of consciousness which a Christian perceives as a beatific vision of Virgin, appears to be Durga to a Hindu. A person who can feel love for an impersonal ball of light might have a vision of an impersonal light. To Rimbaud and Shelly it would be a burst of poetic inspiration and to an Einstein a new mathematical configuration of Existence. The conditions surrounding such experience of founders of religion often become dogmas. Eg if someone had a revelation at the sea, you minght have an entire religion centred around seas.

                      Budhhism and other Jnana paths usually lead to the realization of Transcendent supreme Impersonality. But there are kinds of ultimare reakization too, eg Supreme and Infinite Personality(usually on path of devotion).

                      All in all one must not mistake Techniquee to be yoga itself, much like water bodies and irrigation canals built for our convenience are not water themselves.techniques are built to push your outer instruments to the point that something in you cracks up and you get a glimpse of your inner core. You can see that more “direct” the technique, less of a technique it is. Getting lost in technique eg like hathyoga can make you strong, long lived, but not atall awaken your deepest Self. That’s why I like Shinzen’s term: getting lost in the seductions of Intermediate Zone.
                      One must be very open to exploration and yet very pure hearted.

                    • Arpan says:

                      I forgot to mention:
                      As a corollary to what I said, sense of Responsibility ks the surest way to power in Yoga. But one must be careful to distinguish it from it’s shadow aspect: Blame.

                      More you take responsibility more your power manifests. This is depicted by Skandmata in yoga: Goddess with a god-child born to fight demons, in her lap.
                      Eg if your parents quarrel you must think from the perspective of you being responsible to settle matters between them. This is also the difference between 9-5 demotivatd employees that need deadlines and kickstarts to work and a self motivated Entrepreneur who takes charge of everything and has no one to blame for his losses.

                      As one text states that in as your consciousness expands, and for example you become a True Patriot in spiritual sense, then pains of your body and mind will be to you as significant as pain of an ant lying crushed in the royal garden is to the king roaming around with destiny of nations upon his shoulders. Joys and Sufferings of the nation become your joys and sufferings.

                      Napleon too states: Extent of your consciousness defines the extent of your love.
                      Also: What is the French Revolution ? I am the French Revolution.
                      However he does fail to identify himself with the entirity of France/Europe and remains a narcissist.

                      Sadhguru in his Shambhavi Mahamudra course ofteb leads meditations where you have to see yourself as the Mother of the Universe.

                      Other more outward techniques are hathyogic for example, like Pranayam mentioned by MonkBro.

  22. James says:

    “Eg. He talks about the necessity of sitting with eyes closed/devotion etc in “traditional spirituality”(whatever that may mean).

    What will he say about Yoga of Action( Karma Yoga). In yogic lore plenty of people became enlightened by that. Infact, plenty of Enlightened Yogis were kings, ministers, businessmen, military strategists, butchers, weavers, cobblers and housewives.”

    Well, Sadhguru was a business man and didn’t believe in anything of spiritual nature until he hit his enlightenment.

    “I have always found Sadhguru not to be the real deal just like most gurus out there that have a big audience.

    the more I listen to his enlightenment talks and definitions the more I cringe.”

    I’d like to know more if you don’t mind elaborating.

    I have a really, really well honed BS detector, and so far Jaggi Vasudev hasn’t set it off.

    Morning guys.

    • Arpan says:

      “Well, Sadhguru was a business man and didn’t believe in anything of spiritual nature until he hit his enlightenment.”

      That’s not entirely accurate. He did not “believe”(which is not an impediment in yoga) but was regularly practicing a technique given by his Guru. He “hit” enlightenment while practicing it one day.

      This is different from hitting enlightenment through following your path of action in life with an ever deepening meditative attitude(Karma Yog).

      Yes, you can combine(and it is advisable too) a separate hour for prayer and meditation as well as practicing Karm Yoga in daily life.

      After Enlightenment all that you do becomes Karma Yoga by the very nature of the Consciousness you live in. In that sense Sadhguru is practicing Karm Yoga. But that is different from using Karma Yoga as an actual self sufficient path to Enlightenment.
      Infact that is what Bhagwat Gita is primarily about. Some Zen practitioners attained enlightenment that way too.

      • Arpan says:

        In Gita the warrior prince Arjun wants to quit the battlefield , renounce his claims to an Empire and become a monk,because many of his dear ones are standing in the enemy ranks. Krishna, exhorts him to stand and fight in the spirit of Karm Yoga.

        • Kautilya says:

          Krishna actually tells him to do his ‘Dharma’ and be a Yogi

          I mentioned Karma Yog a few posts back as when I was mentioning various other paths.

          In the Gita Bhakti Yog (devotion) is also a path.

          You need right action, Karm Yog, but wisdom (Jnana) and Raj Yog (meditation) ar ALL valid paths.

          Originally there was only one Yog, some people call it Mahayog for sake of labeling.

          You have wisdom, devotion, action and deep meditation as part of your life.

          I think Guru Nanak essentially gave a total message incorporating all Yogas in Kal Yug.

          • Arpan says:

            Yeah, not denying the validity of other paths, especially wrt Gita. I mentioned only Karm Yoga because it is the only famous text to talk about it and is transmitted in a Unique setting: A battlefield, not an ashram, not a palace.

            Other texts on Karm yoga are Yoga Vasishtha and Tripura Rahasya which are a mixture of Karma and Raman style Gyan yoga. Raman Maharshi held both of these in high esteem. They also have plenty of stories about how people with high wordly positions attained liberation and how they conducted themselves thereafter. In one story, the Queen rebukes the King(her disciple) for limiting his meditation to 1 posture( Eyes closed) rather than making it independent of the time of day and physical poise.

            I believe that not condemning a path as “wrong” is the main concept that makes Eastern religions different from Western. The most radical philosophers only go to the extent of saying that a path is a lesser truth, rather than falsehood.

            Anyway, I personally accept validity of other paths. If I emphasise one, it is because it is working for me, that’s it. Even in a single path, the similarity is only in name: Eg Krishna’s conception differs between minds of each devotee, so in essence each individual has his unique Path. That is why some Masters are called on by the Self to teach after Enlightenment, some are called to war and some to solitude. It is only the Self that decides what it wants to do through a particular body-mind complex then.

            Btw, Gary Weber provides the most comprehebsive template for Ramana style meditation amongst Western Yogis. There are plenty of his videos on youtube and i found his book: Happiness Beyond Thought quite good.

    • Watching his videos on youtube about what enlightenment is I feel he is just running around throwing here and there words instead of directly getting to the point. there is nothing one can understand from what he is saying.

      Then he talks about his enlightenment experience when he was young.
      He doesn’t give enough details…

      What happened after his experience?
      What is his state like every day since then?
      Is his conscious at the same place he was back then?
      Can he see through Maya Illusion?
      Does he perceive things differently then before his enlightenment? if so in what way?
      Does he see the self in everything?
      Is he still able to feel negative emotions?
      Did he came to the direct experience that he is brahma, the self? anything???

      • To me it sounds he just had an awakening, and not the actual liberation.

      • Illuminatus says:

        He often talks about seeing everything in the world as himself. Pretty sure he says that in his video about his enlightenment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5nzZEOm2YE

        I don’t know about your other questions. He seems to be in perma-bliss. He passes my BS detector, for what that’s worth.

        • Kautilya says:

          I think Sadhguru is definitely the real deal in that he is sincere, intelligent, following his Dharma and really contributing.

          We could all learn something from him and I would attend one of his Samyama retreats.

          I think there are many more ‘evolved’ than him but he’s still good to listen to. He does have a lot of stories uncannily similar to Osho though, who was another smart fucker.

          Also, all this ‘listen to their teachings’ stuff – they, even ‘liberated’ ones are limited by language, or rather our limitation. Many of these masters actually give their contributions through psychic energy.

          • Illuminatus says:

            As an aside, Osho never passed my BS detector, and I don’t remember learning a thing from any of his talks. “The Leader” from the Simpsons episode where they join a cult is partially based on Osho (his love of luxury cars). That’s a pretty funny episode. 🙂

            • Kautilya says:

              “BS detector ehh….” … Simpsons is too sick 😂

            • Monk Bro says:

              That’s because he lacks logic and you function more than the average person in logic, you value it, and when you see someone like osho you just don’t get him. He’s a loony fucker, but I definitely think he’s enlightened. Not very intellectual, but very knowledgeable.

              • Osho was one of Maitreya teachers.

                If I remember correctly he said that Osho himself wasn’t fully enlightened.
                Just the first stage which is just an awakening “to enjoy life”. but that’s it.

              • One other thing is, behavior has nothing to do with self realization.

                • Kautilya says:

                  So if someone is a prick to everyone all the time, steals, lies and cheats and does harm for the sake of it….but meditates on the ‘I-ness’…..they are on the path or likely to achieve self-realization?

                  • Arpan says:

                    Yes, if that behaviour is not a result of impulsions of hos ego(which it usually is).
                    Infact even just after enlightenment a person can experience obe of these 4 tates:
                    Jadavat: inert
                    Balavat: childlike
                    Unmattvat: madman
                    Pishachvat: ghoulish

                    This is because the control of the inner being over outer body/mind can weaken a great deal or even snap.
                    This condition can remain or disappear later.
                    Also, a yogi may behave like this hecause he is acting from a different plane of Knowledge and what you miggt consider cruel with your limited vision might be exceedingly beneficial in long term.

                    Thus it is said that even the curse of a Rishi(Seer) is a great blessing. Rishis usually anyway act from a Cosmic standpoint, your petty concerns rarely bother them. This weirdbess is symbolized in Rudra form of Shiva and Kali form of Goddess(they are naked, bloodthirsty and exceedingly violent). It is this facet of God that presides over all death, destruction and suffering.

                    Also, some yogis act weird merely to drive non serious people away.

                    • @Arpan

                      The thing is I have a hard time bringing feelings of love assuming I feel right now neutral and I am trying the Loving Method. I feel that it’s too much of pretending and fake for me. that’s why I prefer just to lock myself into myself and let it all bloom by itself.

                      Some people are just more into the whole devotional type of practices such as Sri Sarada.
                      I don’t think many can do what she did.

                      When I am getting overwhelmed with love through practice I have a very hard time continue to just lay on my bed and continue to put attention on myself, so I am just laying there in surrender position not practicing self inquiry, but even so the attention is still on myself it’s just very effortless, I don’t need to give my mind directions. it’s like from that point on the so called practice is continuing on auto pilot.

                      It doesn’t feel like “work” at some point feel so satisfied that “being” is always there.

                      I think sitting practices are good to get very deep, and in daily activities it will carry on to some degree.

                      But I think the best is not to see it as “work” you have to get over with.

                      More like, throwing yourself on your bed or couch to relax and dive inward for a while or couple of hours and let the world disappear.

                      If you don’t mind please share more of your daily experience with AWA and just anything during daily activities 🙂

                    • Arpan says:

                      @LB: I though of texting on your blog but it’s comments are disabled.

                      Well I don’t do it in the Buddhist metta style. Their “clinical” methods regarding metta never gave me consistent results. But it was still a quandary in my mind as to how can we tap into these emotions irrespective of our personality. I am a very left brained person myself. I found my queue in vipassana: loop the problem back into the meditation.
                      Thus eg a theist might ask God for love or faith rather than uselessly “forcing” itand offer his “barren neutrality” or “doubt” for transformation.
                      Though I myself usually just enjoy the feeling of love that blooms naturally out of AWA. I don’t like to force it, I just “allow” things so deeply that love blossoms.(that’s the most natural way for atheists too I presume).

                      Regarding AWA on autopilot: That’s exactly what I do. Though I have not done as much meditation in my life as you have so I feel my energy channels are not yet clear enough. Bliss gets “clunky” very often(i guess a sitting practice should be continued for now).Too much external hardwork or interpersonal conflict seems to have an impact on my practice too. For now, I just accept whatever state i find myself in.

                      When my practice seems blocked(rare but still there nowadays) I simply aspire upwards to the Divine, with calm intensity.

                      As an aside: I find this to be the fastest method to exceed limitations of my thought, as now I take it to be Divine energy at work(in yoga and in life) rather than myself. If I get tired while exercising, I just handover the charge to the Divine and let his force flow through my limbs. I am trying to do it at earlier and earlier stages. Losing the sense of personal Doership is the essence of Karm yoga. This also makes me more censorious about what thoughts,emotions and actions I allow of myself. Having the sense of Divine proximity is a very powerful yoga in itself. Some guys here have developd certain miraculous abilities by just this: eg 1 person can know contents of a letter just be holding it, count or weight things exactly by just holding them(hands can get more conscious as can any part of our being). He would just get up in the morning and imagine the Divine descending lovingly into different parts of his body and carry a sense of His proximity throughout the day.

                      Also, I feel more “independent” of my body and mind these days. A kind of old school gentle yet heroic indifference to physical and mental fatigue has come up. This alternates with utter disinclination towards outer work.

                      One more thing I had like to add: If I practice AWA in a sitting session with some deliberate focus it stimulates my 3rd eye region, without me deliberately focussing there(which if I attempt, i ususlly fail). I have had brief visions of thunder lightening and sometimes a violet haze with this. Did you have any chakra related experience ?
                      I dunno if this has some familial connection, but my father has(and grandfather had) a fairly developed ajna chakra(3rd eye area).

                    • @Arpan

                      “I have had brief visions of thunder lightening ”

                      I don’t think I have experienced this, but I heard some people get such vision when one is about to have an out of body experience.

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      @Arpan:

                      Did the “thunder/lightning” vision go on for several seconds or was it a sudden CLAP? If the latter, check out “exploding head syndrome”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploding_head_syndrome

                      @LuminousBliss:

                      Would you be interested in writing a guest article about the “I am” meditation — your personal method and experiences?

                      I want to do one at some point but you are further ahead on the curve and I am taking many of my cues from you currently.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ Ed:
                      It was not a “sound”. I wrote “thunder” to specify the kind of lightening I saw. It was just in the image space. It also did not share any of those negative effects.
                      I usually got them after I had gone into a mildly blissful and very still state. It’s extremely random, can’t do it at will as of now.
                      The “violet haze” i mentioned is a slightly more frequent phenomenon.

                    • Arpan says:

                      Yes, it’s usually a brief series of flashes(not a sound clap) for a few seconds. But in midst of the series a particular flash might persist for a full second I guess.

                    • @Illuminatus

                      There isn’t really much to write about on how to put the attention on awareness or the I-feeling. any explanation there on the internet will do.

                      The only thing one should not do is repeating over and over “who am I”. that’s not the correct method.

                      I simply close my eyes and I am already aware of myself. I know I am aware of myself because I feel that I am aware of myself. it’s a inner feeling.

                      Best advice I can give is to spend many hours a day practicing and in practice itself not to ask yourself if you are doing it correctly or not. trust me your ego is going to do that and just like me you will probably try many “attention modes” on how to rest yourself on the I-feeling. I have tried them all and they really are all the same. so before your ego is going to rape you around just stop. 😛

                      Even if for some time you experience bliss and for the next few days or weeks not, that doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. purifications are still happening all the time

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ LB:
                      Can you describe the effect of this practice on your concentration power in general vis a vis traditional shamatha practices ?

                    • @Arpan

                      Sorry I am not really sure about that

                • nhattan0801 says:

                  Looking forward to hearing your experiences and instructions on AWA, on this page as well as on your blog. If you have any breakthrought, don’t disappear. Spreading your knowledges, please (:

                  • Alright here goes:

                    I am feeling in loads and loads of bliss, love and joy, to the point that it becomes so overwhelming and explosive that I cant lay down quitly on my bed.

                    I am literally laughing, smiling, crying from happiness, giggling from the bliss and love. Rolling from side to side on my bed like some kind of overexcited fan girl

                    And this continues and continues as long as I am aware of myself and keep sfollowing me around hours after meditation, but the intensity changes over time .

                    I am getting blissed out to death, the best part is not just the bliss but the love that follows it 🙂

                    The body also starts doing postures automatically, and a smile on the face without your control

                    • Arpan says:

                      LB:

                      What are your views on this:

                      https://albigen.com/uarelove/most_rapid/chapter12.htm

                      I found that I was defaulting to this exact process in everyday life. This ties in neatly with Abandon Release/AWA as well as my relatively newfound theistic inclination.

                      All these albigen methods seem to “soften” the “I” which also makes Ajahn Brahmic approach to Samatha very natural.

                      I think that’s how so many practitioners have advanced so much just via “Aspiration” Surrender and Rejection” even without “sitting practice”.

                    • James says:

                      ohhh I hate you.

                    • James says:

                      ^ that was a joke in regards to LuminousBliss ecstatic experiences btw… thought it would show up right under his post, not Arpans.

                    • @Arpan

                      Other than the Abandon method and AWA I haven’t tried any of his other methods.

                      In daily activities if possible I prefer to have some degree of self awareness than using the other methods he recommends.

                      Michael advice before going to practice self inquiry is to listen to spiritual music that makes one’s conscious shift to the heart because most people are shifted at the head.
                      He provides on his youtube account playlists of music that do that.
                      He says that 1 hour of self inquiry at the heart brings one closer to manonasa than 1000 hours of practicing through the head.

                      I am following his advice regarding that.

                    • Arpan says:

                      @ LB:

                      That “love all” method struck me because I was already feeling that (and encouraging it consciously) as a result of Abandon/AWA sitting practice. And you too stated about feeling love. I don’t really feel the need for sitting practice a lot now as I find it easier to go within and stay there anytime. What’s your advice ?

                      Music/Heart: I have been listening to a few devotional instrumentals too. It kind of softens my being down. A few serious yogis I know say that it is your infatuation with dry techniques that is hampering your growth. Human being is a composite and if you leave a part of yourself(heart) out of equation you are unecessarily making the path tough for yourself. The Truth that path of Knowledge culminates is not your dry logical truth that your generation envisages, but the same living conscious truth that devotees recognize. So a deadened heart will have to be overcome at some stage or another. It’s best to practice de-centering yourself from your head, be simple, still, and stay on the “I”.

                      I will check out his music too, thanks!

                    • nhattan0801 says:

                      So grateful to hear such supreme experiences! How long have you praticed and what exacly the description you are praticing! Could you please guided me in details! I read many methods in the book!

                    • @nhattan0801

                      Everything works.

                      Just choose the easiest and most natural way of watching awareness or feeling the sense of “I am” while ignoring all else.

                      I started around May I think, but I barely practiced 2 hours a day back then, it still did produce effects but it was less.

                      The more hours the better.
                      Also longer sessions, like instead of 1 hour, do 2 hours or 3 hours in a row gets very very deep!

      • Monk Bro says:

        So if I answer those questions in detail will you believe in my enlightenment?

  23. Jajaru says:

    You wrote: ” If you lose the object, find it again then be with it. You will probably lose it again quickly, and have to find it again, then be with it for a short while, before losing it again. ”

    I just wanted to add that “finding the object” is the same as “letting go and realizing that the object was in front of you all the time. You just wanted to do something, to make something “right” and YOU went away from the object.”

    You just let go, even if you are afraid of letting go (Just how I am), you dive into the darkness of your body and away from your thoughts and that’s were the object and the flow are.

    But as you said in the first paragraph most things on these kinds of subjects can be told with many different ways.

    Thanks for the post Illuminatus

  24. Kautilya says:

    Brilliant answer Arpan….Thank you!

    (Reply button missing from your paste so though I’d express myself here)

  25. T says:

    Fantastic read! Flow state is essential.

  26. Illuminatus says:

    @LuminousBliss:

    Have you tried the feeling of “being” in place of “I am”? If so, any thoughts on whether there is a difference?

    I ask because several times my “I am” feeling settled into a feeling of just “being”. I then found that I could invoke the idea of just “being” and I would settle into that state even quicker. It is always totally ecstatic.

    This led to some concentration tech I might talk about, though I am keeping the two meditations separate in my mind at the moment.

    The difference between “I am” and “being” for me is that “I am” is more passive, like reality is kind of falling into place around a central point. The “being” feeling is more active like reality is being PROJECTED OUT from a central point (and the concentration tech then follows that you, rather than seeing the object as separate and something you must absorb into, you instead see it as something your mind is projecting into existence. VERY POWERFUL, especially for kasina meditations).

    Anyway, Buddhism says (well, Daniel Ingram says…) that there is no “central point”. No-Self is supposed to do away with that. Any thoughts?

    Oh, and I also do just “I”. This gives a more ephemeral sense of being which is harder to pin down. I am leaning towards thinking that is the correct one to go for.

    However, for immediate happiness, “being” is most powerful for me at the moment.

    • @Illuminatus

      “Have you tried the feeling of “being” in place of “I am”? If so, any thoughts on whether there is a difference?

      I ask because several times my “I am” feeling settled into a feeling of just “being”. I then found that I could invoke the idea of just “being” and I would settle into that state even quicker. It is always totally ecstatic.”

      Yes.

      It’s true that different “attention modes” such as on the I-feeling, Being, awareness might feel different, but they all merge to the same source eventually.

      If I become aware of awareness, as the practice becomes deeper the attention shifts so to speak to different spectrums of what you feel as “awareness” or what you feel as “being” or what you feel as “you”.

      The best is to allow it to happen rather than trying to revert back to what you previous knew as the feeling of I am, being, awareness or whatever you wanna call it.

      Personally when I get deep enough it all becomes effortless and as you said I am just “being”.
      Then bliss and love takes over and I am aware of myself as a subject of a being of bliss and love.

      On the Albigen site it’s mentioned watching awareness can be both passively and actively.

      “Anyway, Buddhism says (well, Daniel Ingram says…) that there is no “central point”. No-Self is supposed to do away with that. Any thoughts?”

      You know what they say, if one claims there is no self is because they haven’t gone deep enough to find it.

      Even if it is not permanently, one can have glimpses of the self.

      There is no way in hell one can get self realized by practices that involve objects. the whole point is to be aware of yourself so everything else including objects and the universe disappears.

      Anyway, they say the awareness, the self is everywhere, it’s something that goes beyond the boundries of the body. that’s what they mean when one sees the self in everything.

      • Illuminatus says:

        Perfect, exactly what I was looking for.

        I might write up the “being –> concentration” tech because it’s a lot of fun. E.g. a couple of nights ago I did flashlight afterimage for the first time in years. Instead of trying to “grab” the afterimage, I instead saw it as an object being projected from my mind. So I sort of “poured” my awareness at it, as though my mind was projecting it like R2D2’s holo-projector of Princess Leia. Anyway, this is the fastest I have ever attained jhana on kasina, and the light spread out into fractals at first then coalesced into a perfect 3D holographic spinning pyramid, made of the kind of “rainbow” colours of LSD (which is really more like red, green, blue composites rather than rainbow). And that was pure ecstasy.

        Last night I did it again. I noticed (non-verbally) that the light had tinges of red, blue and yellow, and my conceptual mind plucked Eric Cartman out of thin air. Suddenly, the light just morphed into a perfect Eric Cartman symbol! I had to burst out laughing.

        Of course, these are all just tricks of the mind. But the bliss and wonder is real.

        But this sort of answers Arpan’s question, “Can you describe the effect of this practice on your concentration power in general vis a vis traditional shamatha practices ?”

        The effect for me is that “I am” (or, for me, “being”) meditation has massively improved concentration in a short space of time, and given me new tech/angles to play with.

        • Arpan says:

          Thank you LB and Ed(I guess that’s a shortform for your real name, do you mind me using it ?)

          Concentration skills are something everyone here is interested in.

          @Ed:
          “Then, I implanted the suggestion that ALL the symbols were going to turn into the woman symbol that had already been recreated in the centre — and waited. This is how you do visualization properly — you don’t “force” the object to appear, but rather suggest to yourself that you are going to see it at some point, then just kind of let it filter into awareness. It just drops itself in. ”

          The above is a extract from:
          http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/concentration-meditation-find-the-object-be-with-the-object/#comment-93783

          It seems quite similar to what you stated in above comments:
          “rather than seeing the object as separate and something you must absorb into, you instead see it as something your mind is projecting into existence. VERY POWERFUL, especially for kasina meditations”
          And
          “Instead of trying to “grab” the afterimage, I instead saw it as an object being projected from my mind. So I sort of “poured” my awareness at it, as though my mind was projecting it like R2D2’s holo-projector of Princess Leia.”

          This is the Only way I ever attained jhana via a mental image. I was under the impression that it’s your method too, when usimg images.

          I just gently slip an intention that I would see a particular image and sit with trust. As the image arises, I gently pour my awareness onto it or Rest my mind on it, not worrying about micro distortions in it. If it disappears I just trust that it will arise again or if its effortless i just create it. As the mind stills, image becomes sharper,clearer and more alluring. This process seems to give beauty to even the most mundane images.
          This is what I learnt while doing the gentle TM style mantra meditation. As I am not tensed or agggressive about holding the mantra and let it float around, morph in its intonation etc just using its throb as an anchor, the meditation deepens quickly. Applied the same principle to the image space.(I have written this before)

          I find this self awareness method to be quite good for right brain activation. Eg, while reading my thinking becomes quite non linear easily, I make visual and cross subject associations more effortlessly and speed read “visually” in chunks, rather than word by word verbally.

          • Illuminatus says:

            You can really see the mind’s auto-suggestion mechanism working in real time during afterimage kasina meditation:

            “Oooh, that looks like planet Earth!” [Suddenly the light turns into a totally perfect 3D model of Earth viewed from space, with a star field and other supporting phenomena filling in around it]

            The more you get into the image, the more the mind fills it with depth. So, you would not be surprised if, when you decided it was “Earth” you were seeing, your mind would take you in closer, and suddenly landscapes would paint themselves on its side; zooming closer still you could find yourself hovering over the ocean on this little mind-made world.

            The mind becomes very curious and childlike in kasina meditation. There is no “filter” (the part of the brain that would ordinarily tell you that what you’re seeing isn’t real). So, you identify some part of the image as some object you already know, and presto, it becomes that. And the objects the mind makes are always so perfect, so compelling, that they pull you right into them. You get stuck to them like glue in the later levels. The total bliss and healing energies of jhana are working on you the whole time. The bliss is part of the experience and co-occurs with the mind making the objects as part of a “package”. If you can pull off afterimage kasina meditation in this way then you basically have free LSD on tap, of the mind’s own making. I cannot do this all the time and go through regular dry spells. My ability tends to pick back up when I’m making progress in some other area of meditation.

            “Then, I implanted the suggestion that ALL the symbols were going to turn into the woman symbol that had already been recreated in the centre — and waited. This is how you do visualization properly — you don’t “force” the object to appear, but rather suggest to yourself that you are going to see it at some point, then just kind of let it filter into awareness. It just drops itself in. ”

            Regarding this paragraph: I sat so long with the image of the screen filled with the blonde woman (I call her Heidi) that, to this day, if I sit and close my eyes and become away of my spine or “centre”, even for just a split-second, then that “screen filled with blonde women” appears and I have to work past it. It’s like the kundalini burned that image onto my psyche. Pretty annoying, actually.

          • Illuminatus says:

            If you want to give my new kasina tech a go, here are the basic instructions. You should probably practise this on everyday objects with eyes open, initially.

            1) Choose object, e.g. computer screen, lamppost outside window, anything stationery. It should be in the middle distance (so not too close).
            2) Notice the space it occupies in your visual field. Put your mind into that space in the exact shape of the object.
            3) Now use the mental command, “BE”. Create the mental suggestion that your mind itself is what is projecting the object into existence, filling the space it occupies. This will usually cause a tingling in the nose/ centre of head area.
            4) Continue to be with the “BE” signal while looking at the object. Again, it is as though your mind is filling that space with the object, like R2D2’s hologram.

            I find this very mellowing at first then it quickly becomes ecstatic. The important thing for concentration however is that by taking responsibility for the object’s existence, it allows the mind to stay with it very easily and very stably (since it thinks it’s creating it — and who knows, maybe it is).

            It is a powerful hack and I’m rather proud of it.

            Then do this on afterimage with eyes closed. Cause the light to “be” in the exact same way. It should begin showing kasina properties VERY quickly (e.g. fractal edges, the afterimage forming a very bright centre very quickly, etc.).

            This tech all sprouted off of the “I am”/”being” meditation as a side project.

            • Arpan says:

              ” The important thing for concentration however is that by taking responsibility for the object’s existence, it allows the mind to stay with it very easily and very stably (since it thinks it’s creating it — and who knows, maybe it is).”

              To be specific: are you discouraging the “trusting” element I mentioned, at this point ?

              • Illuminatus says:

                I am not discouraging it. It depends on your goals.

                I have not tested the new method with a “trusting” image. It could work. You would start by making a strong formal resolution to see the desired image, before the meditation. However I haven’t tested this.

                The issue with the new method is that it sticks you very firmly with the object. This causes the gap between auto-suggestion (“Oh look, it looks like Earth?”) to manifestation (“It IS Earth!”) very tiny, in the microsecond range. In fact, at times it seems like the recognition of something as a particular object and the manifestation of it AS that object is simultaneous, much like a dream.

                The “trusting” tech however does not use something as stable and already-defined as the light from an afterimage, however. I usually had objects “fade in” to the random dark stuff behind my eyes.

                You would need to test whether you could have desired objects appear in a light afterimage. I have only ever just let it manifest what it “wants” to. It can turn into anything really — a fish thing, a Star Destroyer, a Buddha… The Cartman one was pretty wacky.

                • Arpan says:

                  My bad. I misconstrued the statement to mean: If Arpan takes responsibility his mind will find it easier…

                  I reread it. You meant : Mind takes responsibility.

                  I am sure I can now create desired image stably by trusting method, but I will experiment with both approaches for a few days before settling with one.

                  “Create the mental suggestion that your mind itself is what is projecting the object into existence, filling the space it occupies. This will usually cause a tingling in the nose/ centre of head area.”
                  I almost always experience this phenomenon when using kasina. Interesting this is you mention “nose” where I experience tingling but I dont find many ppl talk about it except for texts.

                  ” In fact, at times it seems like the recognition of something as a particular object and the manifestation of it AS that object is simultaneous, much like a dream.”
                  I encourage this belief in my mind because it only strengthens the process.

                  Will try.

                • Kautilya says:

                  ‘Trust’ in your own ability perhaps…

        • James says:

          I’d love to see an article on it. Maybe you and luminous talk and really nail it down to an articulate, simple tech.

          I’ve had a lot of real successful meditations on with “nothing” as my object in the past.

    • Kautilya says:

      I have been using “I” – in fact ‘I’ was just gonna ask what you thought about it!!

      For me ‘I am’ is amazing, (‘Soham’ in Sanskrit) and many masters have recommended it. Could however for some minds being up subtly, under the awareness ‘I Am……(fill this space’

      ‘I’ is just more direct and doesn’t ask for anything more, it just affirms.

      ‘Being’ affirms the ‘right thing to do’ – what you should be doing 🙄🤔😶……lol

      I think the better way is – “BE”

  27. Arpan says:

    About LSD: Well yes, I have been trying to formulate techniques for some guys who have become LSD junkies and are unable to quit despite wanting to.

    ” I cannot do this all the time and go through regular dry spells.”
    I seem to have overcome this sinve I adopted a theistic paradigm. The sense is that Force that has mothered you every second since eternity through millions of biological parents and countless other means is always with you, if your aspiration/flow has disappeared nevermind it would return. This dissipates the dry spell very fast for me. I won’t say things with authority here because I have not been at it since very long. But for now this is the only thing that works under all circumstances. It was embarassing at first, but I guess that’s another part of the ego, The Doer, that got worked out.

    “that “screen filled with blonde women” appears and I have to work past it. ”
    I have now formed a clearing mechanism for sounds and images that get stuck in the mind now. I just call down Peace and it rains in sovereign assurance of its all encompassing infinitudes( I just tried to formulate the feeling I use in words) dissolving and cleansing everything including the mindstream itself.
    If it’s an image of God that I like, I let it persist. I have got so practiced with this that the mind tends to wipe its slate clean just as I begin the process, probably to avoid all the work I would make it do.

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